The Atlanta Citizen Review Board found 24 Atlanta police officers guilty of the false imprisonment of patrons during the warrantless raid of of the Atlanta Eagle bar on September 10-11, 2009. The Board also held on-scene supervisors responsible for the use of profanity and anti-gay slurs by officers conducting the raid. The ruling came during the Board’s monthly meeting on September 9, 2010, at which it considered complaints filed by patrons of the bar; the Board previously found officers guilty of misconduct with regard to complaints filed by bar employees.
The Board voted to conduct a separate study to determine who was ultimately responsible for the raid and postponed its recommendation of disciplinary sanctions pending completion of the study. The Board expressed its belief that a raid of this scale — involving dozens of officers from two separate units and the warrantless seizure of more than 70 civilians — was probably approved in advance by senior commanders in the Atlanta Police Department; the study will attempt to determine who authorized and approved the illegal police conduct during the raid. Many observers, including reporters who have covered the Atlanta Police Department for years, share the Board’s skepticism that a raid of this magnitude could have been conducted under the authority of a sergeant alone, as claimed, without prior approval from higher-ranking commanders.
The victims of the raid filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in November, 2009. The city continues to defend the lawsuit and contend that its officers did nothing wrong.
Media coverage of the Decision:
Police oversight panel to study APD supervisors role in gay bar raid: Atlanta Journal Constitution
Citizen Review Board takes up Eagle Raid: Fox 5 News
Citizen panel: 24 ATL cops mistreated Eagle Bar patrons: Atlanta Unfiltered
CRB sustains “False Imprisonment” charge against officers in Eagle Raid: The Sunday Paper
The GA Voice