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Source: Eagle settlement for plaintiffs more than $10,000 each

While nobody involved in the Eagle raid settlement with the city will discuss on the record the exact amount of money the plaintiffs are receiving, one person close to the case who asked to not be identified said the amount received by the plaintiffs was “considerably more than $10,000 per person.”

Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the city who sued because their constitutional rights were violated during the infamous Sept. 10, 2009, raid on the Midtown gay bar picked up their checks today.

In a report on Wednesday, GA Voice reported that plaintiff Johnnie Curran said he was told that the average amount the plaintiffs received was about $10,000.

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Atlanta Eagle plaintiffs to receive checks Thursday from city settlement

The plaintiffs in the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit will be picking up their checks on Thursday.

The $1.025 million settlement the city entered into with the plaintiffs — patrons of the bar the night it was raided by the Atlanta Police Department — was entered into an escrow account of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal advocacy organization. Lambda Legal assisted in the lawsuit with lead attorney Dan Grossman and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Johnnie Curran, one of the plaintiffs, confirmed he received an email telling him the checks were available for pick up at the Atlanta Lambda Legal office on Thursday. He did not disclose the amount he received, but did say the average amount for the plaintiffs was approximately $10,000. There were 26 individual plaintiffs as well as two companies that were part of the federal civil lawsuit.

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Atlanta Eagle officers racked up large bar bills hours before raid

Atlanta police officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid spent a great deal of money on shots of liquor before the actual raid began, according to a news report.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that officer Bennie Bridges, the lead investigator of the raid and who was working undercover, spent $50 of APD funds on drinks on Sept. 10, 2009, the night of the raid. The AJC also states that Bridges spent another $60 on drinks on May 29, 2009, while working undercover into allegations of illicit sex and drug use taking place at the Midtown gay bar.

Another officer the night of the raid, Jared Watkins, also working undercover, spent $60 on drinks the night of the raid.

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‘Eagle 8’ trial prosecutor fired for not paying bar dues

Larry Gardner, prosecutor against the Eagle 8 has been disbarred

The prosecutor of the Eagle 8 trial has been fired after it was learned he had not paid his State Bar of Georgia dues, according to a statement from the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office.

The GA Voice learned Larry Gardner, a prosecutor for the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office, had not paid his bar dues when the Eagle trial occurred in March 2010, which is necessary to practice law in Georgia. By not paying dues, attorneys are put on administrative suspension.

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Atlanta police to disband controversial Red Dog Unit

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner

The Atlanta Police Department will disband its controversial Red Dog Unit in 60 days, Chief George Turner announced at a press conference this morning.

The paramilitary-style unit had come under scrutiny for its supporting role in the 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, and recent complaints from two men that Red Dog officers — including two who also took part in the Eagle raid — subjected them to a strip search on a public street in broad daylight.

The Red Dog unit will be replaced by a new elite unit that has yet to be named, Turner said. The new unit will focus chiefly on violent crime, whereas the primary focus of Red Dog was street-level drug activity. Current Red Dog officers will have to apply to be part of the new unit, and will have to meet stringent standards including physical fitness and being free from any sustained complaints against them, Turner said.

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Atlanta police lead investigator of Eagle raid arrested

The Atlanta Police Department's lead investigator in the Atlanta Eagle raid was arrested this week for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana.

The news was first broken Saturday by Stephanie Ramage, former news editor at the Sunday Paper, who now writes her own blog.

Officer Bennie Bridges, 41, of the Vice unit was the lead investigator into the anonymous complaints that led to the Eagle raid in September 2009. Bridges was arrested in Cobb County on Thursday at about 3 a.m. The booking report shows that Bridges was arrested at I-285 East and Cobb Parkway and charged with speeding, DUI and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. He was released on $1,900 bond, according to the Cobb report.

APD spokesperson Officer Kimberly Maggart said Saturday night that Bridges is on administrative leave with pay.

"This matter has been referred to the department's Office of Professional Standards for investigation. Further comment on this specific incident would be inappropriate. However, Chief Turner expects Atlanta police officers to follow the laws they are sworn to uphold and enforce. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action," she added in a statement.

Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the APD, confirmed Monday that Bridges was driving an unmarked city vehicle when he was arrested.

"Officer Bridges is still assigned to APD's Vice Unit (though, as noted before, he is presently on administrative leave with pay as a result of the arrest). The vehicle is assigned to him as part of his job duties," Campos said in a statement.

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Citizen Review Board releases full investigative report on Atlanta Eagle raid

The Atlanta Citizen Review Board released today to the public its full investigative report on the raid of the Atlanta Eagle by the Atlanta Police Department.

And on Thursday, the LGBT Advisory Group sent Chief George Turner a letter asking he follow the recommended punishments to the officers and supervisors of the September 2009 raid.

The recommended punishments range from 3-day suspensions, written reprimands and Fourth Amendment training to all the officers involved in the raid to written reprimands and Fourth Amendment training for supervisors of the raid. One supervisor, a sergeant, was recommended for a 30-day suspension without pay for being “untruthful” during the CRB’s investigation.

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Mayor speaks out more about changes to Atlanta Police Department

Mayor Kasim Reed says there needs to be a change in the culture of the Atlanta Police Department after continuing complaints have been made against the controversial Red Dog Unit.

In an interview with WABE's Jim Burress, Reed said the future of the APD "may or may not include Red Dog."

Two men have alleged that three Red Dog Unit officers pulled them over and forced them to pull down their pants. The men also said they were fondled by the officers. Read the official complaints the two men filed here.

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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Group wants chief to punish Eagle raid officers

The Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT Advisory Group is urging Chief George Turner to accept the Atlanta Citizens Review Board recommendations for punishments of the officers and supervisors involved in the illegal Atlanta Eagle raid.

At its Monday meeting, the advisory board voted to inform the chief as well as the mayor that members “strongly support” the CRB’s recommendations that the officers involved in the raid on Sept. 10, 2009, be punished with three days unpaid leave, a written reprimand and training on the Fourth Amendment. The board also backed the CRB’s recommendations that the supervisors of the raid receive written reprimands and Fourth Amendment training.

Sgt. Kelley Collier, who said during a CRB in-depth investigation that he could virtually not recall anything the night of the raid, was recommended to receive a 30-day suspension without pay for being “untruthful” — an offense that typically ends in an officer being fired.

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Atlanta Police say no plans at this time to disband Red Dog Unit

Conflicting reports emerged over the weekend about the fate of the Atlanta Police Department's notorious Red Dog Unit, but a police spokesman said this morning that the unit is not being disbanded.

WABE, citing anonymous sources, is reporting the unit may be disbanded as soon as this week. Reporter Jim Burress noted that APD spokesperson Sgt. Curtis Davenport said that was a "rumor."

WSB TV, however, had an exclusive interview with Chief George Turner over the weekend in which Turner told reporter Eric Philips that there were no plans to disband the unit.

Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the APD, said this afternoon, "To the best of my knowledge, [the Red Dog Unit] is not being disbanded today."