Atlanta Police Major Debra Williams, who was the supervisor of the Red Dog Unit and the Vice Unit the night of the botched raid on the Atlanta Eagle, retired as a major and not a lieutenant. The APD issued a pr...
A member of the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory group is demanding fellow members ask Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner to fire officers involved in the raid on the Atlanta Eagle after the department was slammed in reports released last week.
Betty Couvertier, who also hosts and produces “Alternative Perspectives,” an LGBT radio show on WRFG 89.3 FM every Tuesday, sent a letter to other board members on Wednesday expressing her dismay with Reed's revelation that he was “shocked” when he read the reports from the APD's Office of Professional Standards and an independent report by high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig. The reports state officers lied, destroyed evidence and also showed outright anti-gay prejudices related to the 2009 raid on the gay bar.
“I find it offensive and disturbing that the mayor would be shocked, after all the Civilian Review Board [Atlanta Citizen Review Board] came to similar conclusions a year ago but they were rejected [by Chief Turner],” she said in a letter to the advisory group members Glen Paul Freedman, chair; Josh Noblitt; Tracee McDaniel; Ebonee Bradford Barnes, Tracy Elliott, Molly Simmons, Philip Rafshoon and Terence McPhaul.
Debra Williams, who was demoted from major to lieutenant on the Atlanta Police Department in the wake of last week's devastating investigations into the department's raid on the Atlanta Eagle, is retiring from the force.
Williams, who served 27 years on the force, announced her intentions to retire on Wednesday, July 6, APD spokesperson Carlos Campos confirmed to the GA Voice Thursday. The retirement went into effect Wednesday.
Williams was demoted from major after it was determined in the independent Greenberg Traurig investigation of the raid on the Eagle, a gay Midtown bar, that she was ineffective as supervisor of the raid. The APD's internal affairs unit also found Williams' supervision inadequate.
Action-oriented LGBT advocacy group Queer Justice League posted a petition on Change.org today, calling for the City of Atlanta, and Mayor Kasim Reed in particular, to take bold measures against the Atlanta Police officers who broke the law and did not follow procedure during the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle.
The QJL is petitioning the mayor to fire all 25 officers involved in the raid who were found to have violated procedure during the raid, as well as charge officers for various crimes committed during and after the raid. You can read all about it here.
A copy of the petition is below:
Reed promises more discipline against police for botched gay bar raid
Atlanta Eagle attorney Dan Grossman will be speaking at the Queer Justice League’s meeting on Tuesday, July 5.
The meeting begins at 8 p.m. and is being held at the Phillip Rush Center, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307.
Grossman will discuss the recent investigations of the Atlanta Police Department and its action in the Sept. 10, 2009, raid on the Eagle, a Midtown gay bar. He will also discuss the implementation of policies the APD is mandated to undertake as part of a $1.025 million settlement with Eagle plaintiffs.
There is an old story that has been around for a long time and told with many variations to the moral of the story and so today this story sums up the raid on the gay Midtown bar the Atlanta Eagle, the Atlanta Police Department and some of our brothers and sisters in our community.
One day three blind men encountered an elephant.
Upon touching the elephant's tail, the first blind man exclaimed, "I declare, an elephant is exactly like a rope."
The second blind man, bumping into the elephant’s side, said, "No sir, you are wrong. An elephant is exactly like a wall."
Then the third, having grasped the elephant's trunk, declared, "You are both mistaken. The elephant is exactly like a snake!"
Seven of 10 officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid — including one sergeant who said he considered gay people violent — have been put on administrative duty for violating the Atlanta Police Department's truthfulness policy due to fallout from investigations into the botched gay bar raid.
Two officers involved in the raid have already been terminated due to a separate, unrelated investigation, states a press release from the APD.
"The investigative reports prepared by the Office of Professional Standards and Greenberg Traurig concluded that ten (10) sworn members of the Atlanta Police Department violated the APD's truthfulness policies," states a press release from the APD.
"Chief Turner placed 7 of these 10 officers on administrative duty pending the outcome of a disciplinary review. The officers were required to return their guns and badges and will not work in a law enforcement capacity until resolution of this matter," the release states.
Dan Grossman served as lead attorney in the federal civil lawsuit filed by patrons of the Atlanta Eagle who were in the gay bar during the 2009 raid by the Atlanta Police Department. The lawsuit ended with a $1.025 million settlement from the city and a court mandate that the city conduct investigations into the botched raid and make public the results. Today Grossman issued his own executive summary of the findings of the massive report issued by law firm Greenberg Traurig Tuesday.
Here it is in its entirety and can also be found here.
Highlights of the Atlanta Eagle Raid Report by Greenberg Traurig by Daniel J. Grossman, Esq.
The Greenberg Traurig report confirmed widespread lying by officers both under oath (in court testimony and sworn statements) and in statements to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board and others. The report identified ten individual officers who violated the APD regulation regarding truthfulness (GT report, see chart on p. 302), for which the disciplinary sanction is dismissal.
The independent investigation into the Atlanta Eagle raid by high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig and the Atlanta Police Department’s own internal affairs investigations revealed a slew of illegal activities by officers involved in the raid. But it should be noted that many of these same infractions were disclosed a year ago — by the Atlanta Citizens Review Board.
In January, the ACRB released its full investigation into the raid on the gay bar, also finding evidence that officers continually lied during the investigation, violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the patrons in the bar the night it was raided, as well as used anti-gay slurs toward patrons. The ACRB began its investigations in the Eagle raid last June, finding the police officers guilty of many illegal activities, including illegal search and seizures and false arrests.
“The findings and recommendations made by the law firm of Greenberg Traurig are very similar, not identical, to the findings made by the ACRB,” said Cristina Beamud, executive director of the ACRB.
The LGBT Advisory group for the Atlanta Police Department will hold a meeting July 13 to discuss the investigations of the Eagle raid.
The city released the APD's Office of Professional Standards investigation into the botched raid late Tuesday and an independent investigation by prestigious law firm Greenberg Traurig was also released late Tuesday.'
You can read about some of the findings in the investigations here, including links to the full reports.
Overall, the reports clearly state police officers violated numerous procedures during the raid, including violating the patrons' Fourth Amendment rights. The investigations also found there to be specific instances of anti-gay discrimination during the raid of the gay bar.