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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.
A town hall meeting to discuss the Atlanta Eagle’s settlement with the city of Atlanta in the federal lawsuit following the city’s illegal police raid on the gay bar last year is set for Monday, Dec. 20.
Speaking at the forum will be Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs; Beth Littrell, attorney for Lambda Legal; and Gerry Weber, attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights. Lambda Legal and SCHR also represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
There will also be a representative from Building Locally to Organize Community Safety (BLOCS) at the forum.
The lead attorney and plaintiffs who sued the city of Atlanta over the botched 2009 raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, praised the settlement agreement signed by a federal judge today. But they continued to stress that their lawsuit should not have been necessary to force Atlanta police to change unconstitutional policies.
"This is a wonderful change for the city of Atlanta — to get the Atlanta Police Department to follow the law," lead attorney Dan Grossman said in an interview this afternoon. "It's really a shame it took a lawsuit to make the APD follow the law."
Richard Ramey, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, echoed Grossman's sentiments.
"I feel vindicated and relieved. I feel that everyone in the city, from the mayor to the city council, realized something went wrong," he said.