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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board to meet with mayor, police chief

Members of the Atlanta LGBT Advisory Board will sit down next week with the mayor and police chief to discuss their dissatisfaction with the punishments handed down to officers involved in the controversial Atlanta Eagle raid.

Mayor Kasim Reed will meet with board members on Tuesday, July 26, and Chief George Turner will meet with the board on Friday, July 29. The meetings were requested after the LGBT Advisory Board held a town hall forum on July 13; they are intended to find ways to continue “in our work to strengthen the relationship between the LGBT community and the APD,” according to letters from the board to the mayor and police chief.

The board also plans to hold another community forum with Reed and Turner in attendance to discuss the 2009 raid on the Midtown gay bar and the ongoing fallout that includes six officers being fired recently for lying about what happened during the raid.

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Atlanta police LGBT Advisory group sends letters to mayor, police chief

The Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory group sent letters today to Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner requesting meetings with each of them to discuss the punishments handed down so far in the Eagle raid.

The board announced at a July 13 community meeting it would do so and told people attending the forum that they hope to meet with each by July 27. Board members are also asking the mayor and chief to attend a future community town hall meeting in the future.

Chief Turner responded today to the board saying, "It would be my pleasure to meet with you all," and saying his assistant would set up dates for both meetings on Monday.

Mayor Reed also responded late Friday, saying he also would be "happy to meet with ... the members of the LGBT Advisory Board."

Here are what the letters sent to the mayor and the police chief stated:

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Eagle plaintiff makes emotional plea to Atlanta police LGBT Advisory group

July 14, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen of the LGBT Advisory Committee:

My name is John Patrick Curran. I am one of the plaintiffs in the Eagle Raid case against the city of Atlanta.

After the meeting yesterday evening I sat in my car for forty-five minutes and cried.

Perhaps it was long over due, sheer frustration, or emotional exhaustion.

But mostly, it was defeatism. I had found strength within myself that I never knew I had, but it’s starting to wear thin.

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Criminal defense attorney questions handling of officers’ punishments in botched Eagle raid

It's a no brainer that the officers who were found to have lied and tampered with evidence in the botched 2009 Eagle raid should be fired, said Christine A. Koehler, a  criminal defense attorney based in Gwinnett County.

As past president of the gay Stonewall Bar Association and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Koehler said if she practiced in Fulton County, she would be immediately looking through past client records to see if any of the APD officers cited in two scathing investigations on the Eagle raid for lying and tampering with federal evidence testified against any of her clients.

"And I would seek new trials based on the officers' credibility," she said.

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More lawsuits to be filed against city in Eagle raid?

An attorney representing a former bartender at the Atlanta Eagle says he plans to file a lawsuit on his client's behalf for false arrest and prosecution without probable cause.

Chris Lopez, who was a bartender the night the Atlanta Police Department raided the gay Midtown bar on Sept. 10, 2009, and was one of the eight people arrested, filed a complaint with the city's Municipal Clerk on Dec. 7, 2010, seeking $250,000 for "false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution."

Lopez filed the complaint as the city settled for more than $1 million with patrons of the bar who sued the city in federal civil court saying their constitutional rights were violated.

When the city's scathing reports describing numerous illegal actions — illegal search and seizures, lying under oath, destroying evidence — made by APD officers during and after the raid were released last month, Lopez's attorney said legal action against the city is now likely.

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Atlanta police slammed in Eagle raid investigations

Attorney for Atlanta Eagle Dan Grossman

The Atlanta Eagle was packed July 2, a far cry from nights following the Atlanta Police Department raid on the gay bar nearly two years ago.

Moving from the dance floor to the back deck for a breath of fresh air took about 20 minutes of snaking between burly men wearing leather or various uniforms who were in town for the popular Atlanta Bear Fest over the holiday weekend.

Downstairs at Rawhide Leather, Du-Wayne Ray, store manager, stood behind the register as customers perused leather vests, harnesses, Eagle t-shirts and adult items.