Comments/Discussion

Please feel free to post your thoughts about the Atlanta Eagle raid.  All comments are welcome, including opposing points of view.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

anonymous June 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm

These RED DOGS are Abusive and Law Bending and that is why they are no longer an official police unit. They are the same unit that raided the 24K bar I was working in, a month after the Eagle incident. This is a story that was very one sided and made our 24K bar look guilty for lack of permits, when no emphasis was put on the abusiveness of the Red Dogs and the lack of compassion for adult entertainment employees. Sure, we are not gay and cannot use that card, but we struggle day in and day out to make a decent living. Now, two years after the Red Dog invasion of the 24k establishment, business is not close to what it was prior to the invasion. I pay $350/year to work in the adult entertainment business and it is not as easy as it seems, especially after Shirley Franklin destroyed the night life in Atlanta, and now since the Red Dogs invoked their wrath upon the people. It is a shame that we at 24k were not a gay club, because we might also have had a chance for publicity and restitude for the horrors that we have went through. I hate to break it to the average Joe, but strippers do not make as much money as people seem to think. People are just now starting to realize, as many women enter the adult entertainment industry due to the recession, that women sometimes make less than $10 a shift, or $1.33/hr. I witness this each and every day. Yet, Atlanta still wants each and every employee to have a license that costs $350/yr. This is ludacris! It is impossible to work more than 4 shifts a week in an adult entertainment club with the loud music and alcohol. So, if a dancer works 4 shifts per week and makes $10 a shift. That is $160 a month, at this rate it will take 2 1/2 months just to pay for the license. Why would someone invest in a license, that will only bring back 4 times the amount in an entire year of hard work? This makes no sense, what so ever. Yet, dancers and employees continue to pay for the license, even if they only work for one week. If they only try out, they must first buy a license. Sounds like a scam to me, and this is why 24k was missing a few permits at Red Dog raid time! It is also why I am currently unemployed, while I was making a great living moments before the raid two years ago.

[Reply]

Shaun January 28, 2011 at 10:11 am

I’m conservative; I don’t approve of the lifestyle of the Eagle’s patrons. However, I’m quite sure the patrons of the Eagle don’t want or need my approval. I’m fine with that. With my conservatism comes a love of freedom, and it goes against my values to force my morals on others.

I mention this only to illustrate the place where I’m coming from. My condemnation of “Red Dog” is rooted not in any sympathies to homosexuals, but rather in the much firmer and deeper soil of our nation’s basic tenants.

What the officers of Red Dog have done and are doing, with their public strip searches and other assaults on freedom we don’t know about, turns the stomach. They are the brown-shirted thugs of our new police state. I am sure that many are ex-military (like myself). It is a shame that, during their military service, they failed to embrace the values of freedom and liberty that they purported to defend.

As citizens transfer more of their rights from themselves to the government (at any level), Incidents like what happened at the eagle will become more and more frequent. What happened is not a reflection on the police or their training, but rather a bleak demonstration of the power they now wield over us. The city can pay out millions in a settlement, and officers can sit in “sensitivity training” all the hours you want them to, but until Americans wake up and take their freedoms back (including the freedom to fail), Eagle-like incidents will continue to happen; they will increase in both frequency and intensity.

A student of history realizes that police are not the constant fixture of civilization they claim to be; there is no thin blue line between chaos and order. It is the citizenry that keep order. Somewhere along the way, the citizen transferred his responsibilities to the police. It was a small transfer at first; a constable would be elected, and he’d deputize the citizen during times of need. But then the speed of the transfer increased. The constable was made permanent, and the constable hired permanent help. The citizen watched. He was pleased. More and more of the citizen’s money was transferred, along with his responsibilities, to the police. Now the citizen has transferred nearly all his responsibilities to the police, and now, the in name of law and order, the police take the rights of the citizen away.

We are reaping what we sow. We demand that the police protect us. We demand this to the point where we can no longer protect ourselves. Who then will protect us from the police? Who watches the watchman?

Take back your responsibilities, citizen. Do this, and your rights will follow.

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KENNETH LAWRENCE December 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

WHY DO POLICE HAVE TO STAGE THESE PARA MILITARY RAIDS? WOULD IT NOT JUST BE EASIER TO JUST GO IN WITH A FEW UNIFORMED OFFICERS AND ARREST WHO EVER WAS IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW. THE ANSWER IS THAT POLICE JUST LOVE THIS STYLE OF POLICING. KICKING THE DOOR IN, DRESSED LIKE NINJAS, ORDERING EVERYONE ON THE FLOOR IS A REAL POWER TRIP FOR THEM. AND ATLANTA DOES NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY ON THIS TYPE OF ATTITUDE. THIS ONLY RE-ENFORCES THE “US AGAINST THEM” ATTITUDE MANY CITIZENS HAVE TOWARD THE POLICE. SO THE POLICE MUST ASK THEMSELVES DO THE WANT TO “SERVE AND PROTECT” OR “CONTROL AND SUBDUE” THE PEOPLE WHO HIRED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

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Concerned May 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

The ACRB will be presenting one of it’s first cases to the board involving an APD Sergeant and the lead investigator of the raid. The discussion of the case will take place at the ACRB’s June meeting that takes place on the second Thursday of the month in the City Council committee room. All involved should attend to show support! The meeting starts at 6:30.

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Clayton March 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Mike,

In your post you stated, “If you can’t testify before the citizen board today what would you have to say tomorrow that puts you in any better light. A blue curtain of shame.” If it were that easy officers would make that statement with no problem. However, they are not required by the operating procedures to make a statement… they only have to show up to their appointment. Officers are REQUIRED to make a statement to Internal Affairs and the Civilian Review Board has access to everyone of those statements as they are given to I.A. Don’t be fooled. The Board is in the know and have all the information, but it’s just not public record until the investigation is over within the department.

Don’t forget, police officers are citizens too. Hell, most pay their own salary by paying Atlanta taxes. Just because they wear a uniform does that mean they don’t have their Constitutional rights…. espically when a civil lawsuit is involved. When making a statement to the Board they are making it as a citizen, not a cop. They do have the right to remain silent.

Not all cops are in the right, but there are alot more of us that are trying to do the right thing then those that are getting media attention for bad decisions. As a gay officer in the Atlanta Police Dept. I invite everyone in the city to go on a ride along and maybe get a chance to see things from the other side too. It may affirm, or dispell how you fell towards officers.

And really… is the Eagle going to be made out to be such a gay family oriented place to have a clean fun time? Folks, at the very least be a little real.

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AtlantaEagleRaid.com Reply:

A few replies.

1) Clayton is certainly correct that police officers have the same constitutional rights as everyone else, and any police officer who wishes to “take the Fifth” and refuse to testify before the Citizen Review Board has every right to do so.

2) Whether or not the Eagle is “family oriented” is not the point; the Constitution applies everywhere, and an American who is not personally suspected of any crime cannot legally be searched, seized, detained, or arrested no matter where he or she is located. (Remember, this case is about patrons who were not suspected or charged with any crime, but who were detained and searched simply because they were present at the Eagle; whether the police can legally search or detain someone is determined by whether that particular individual is suspected of a crime, and not by whether he is in a place that is family-friendly or not.)

3) Clayton is correct that many police officers, in Atlanta and elsewhere, care deeply about following the law and doing the right thing, which is something we should all keep in mind. Cops have a difficult and dangerous job and many of them do it honestly, legally, and with integrity. The best possible result at the end of this case will be a police department cleaned of bad officers and bad policies, and a community that is grateful and supportive of the many good cops who risk their lives to keep us safe. The plaintiffs in this case are not “anti-cop” and their supporters should not be either.

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Concerned Reply:

This is not factually correct, officers who testify before the board are protected by garrity. The ordinace requires officers to cooperate with the Board, that being said all of the officers and the “interim” Chief are effectively breaking the law. Having an intimate knowledge of the board process and the APD, I can safely say it is the most disfunctional and operationaly challenged department I have ever seen in my 20 years of law enforcement.

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Mike Emm February 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I was a bit surprised to hear that police officers could not make a statement on their actions due to a pending lawsuit as if their testamony could be manipulated or changed to some other form of the truth.

For years I assumed officers were Officers of the Court and not only had requirements to uphold the law but to testify truthfully with the foreknowledge of his oath to the people and the court.

There is no questions their actions and their future statements will be damning but they did not go into the actions they did without the foreknowledge of the illegality of their acts. If you play the game you get burned. Like a cabin attending making an arbitrary statement about fat people on a plane they got together that night to hassle the fags and it worked a little different than they expected it to.

If you can’t testify before the citizen board today what would you have to say tomorrow that puts you in any better light. A blue curtain of shame.

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Deadhead February 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

I wasn’t present at the raid but was reading comments on a music website about the “REDDOG” squad and did a search and this event and the murder of an elderly woman were the first to pop up.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1989-03-28.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.81529.sbeok.flac16

The about link is for the music website I mentioned. A user commented that:

“great recording of a great show. this was my 3rd Dead show, and my best up to that point. Afterward, was partying in a lot and got nabbed by the scariest 2 cops I,ve ever seen (red dog squad) . They told me they were gonna beat the shit out me, but I was rescued by their supervisor. WHEW!”

Apparently they’ve been doing this quite awhile because the above mentioned show and era was ‘89

Look out for the REDDOGS in Atlanta apparently

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Wesley Knox December 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

This just makes me sick to my stomach..i guarantee there is more illegal and immoral activity goin on the titty bars they probably go to when off duty.

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Mike Reply:

This is disgraceful and beyond a sickning! HORRIBLE! ITS NEO NAZI NEW WORLD ORDER open militant abuse that SOME HOW MUST BE ENDED! Its like we as American citizens and all over the world are losing our free willed right as living free willed human beings, to persue personnal freedom and happyness! It would not matter if its making love in the park with a MAN and a WOMEN in the back of your car in a public park. Or having sex in a discrete place M 2 M OR W 2 M OR W 2 W or what ever–the same with having ADULT fun as MUTUAL CONSENTING ADULTS in any private or public place, like abar or a gay bar or what ever. Every where we go we are being socially engineered and conditioned to be STERILE, conservative and “politically correct” in every possible mannor of any action or deed!! This means like WE are being conditioned and forced though B**L S**T like this to CONFORM or be arrested, beat up, emprisioned ETC!! WHEN WILL WE some how reverse this?? Its like THEY…the SYSTEM wants EVERY ONE to just stay at home and be brain washed WITH MASS MARKET MEDIA (TV) and be DUMBED down and NUMBED down with phamasudical meds and TV and movies sitting on the SOFA! Like every where PORNO MOVIE CLUBS, GAY BARS STRAIGHT BARS, NIGHT CLUBS, any place where adults can have and enjoy sex as an adult!!!…. is being attacked, free choice and free will is being attacked and the freedom WE should have as AN ADULT to enjoy what ever we want–sexually–as ADULTS as long as we are not even hurting others is being stripped away!! THIS IS HORRIBLE and it is as if we are in communist China or turn of the 20th century Russia or NAZI Germany!!

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john in sf December 20, 2009 at 5:45 am

Ok guys, we’re starting to get some real mouth-breathing conservative idiots posting to this. Don’t go crazy arguing with them. They’ll go away once they stick their heads back up their butts.

Make sure you read the letter to Mayor Franklin from the residents of the apartment building/house next-door to the bar. It’s perfect.

Someone, or many someones, need to be fired over this bull-shit.

“Mayor Franklin” – what a waste. She’s continuing to demonstrate her lack of spine.

Oh, and find another APD liaison to the LGBT community. This one is a failure, or, maybe just an imbecile. What to do about the Pride parade? DISINVITE her from being Parade (Co-)Marshal. What is Pride all about? What was it that happened exactly 40 years ago to start the modern LGBT civil rights movement? A police raid of a gay bar in NYC. This dolt should remove herself from the Pride event and get out of that special position at the APD. She’s an insult to the whole community.

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enrique December 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I was not born in this country.I was born in Cuba where gay rights are the least the cuban goverment is worried about .We are not people to them, we are just like monsters.I can’t say animals because I highly respect animals.
I was lucky enough to establish residence in New York City where I lived for 22 years,then 911 came and I lost my high paying job and decided to move south to Fort Lauderdale (another great place to live) but the bad economy forced me out to Atlanta where it seemed to have a lower cost of living.My friend who now lives in London had talked to me about moving to this part of the country and he implied that I was crazy since I had lived in two of the most tolerant cities in the country bur I decided to experience it myself and he was right I was crazy to move here. This city is full of racist people and the ignorance is very obvious.I am very sorry I move here but the good news is I am going back to Florida and I will never come back to see this kind of behaviour. There you have the Atlanta police attacking a gay bar instead of focusing on the high ammount of rapist and criminals we have roaming the streets.In Georgia it is all about HATE and religion. I hope some day people here change but I have no hope about that. I better go somewhere else where people are more open minded

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Rick Pearlstein December 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I’ve talked about this issue a couple of time on my Show and will continue to do so. This is just another horrid example of how the police view the people of the communities that they are supposed to serving. The treat us a revenue generators and serfs.

Please continue to fight this atrocity and stand up for your rights.

In Freedom,

Rick Pearlstein

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Roger December 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Let’s see….
The Atlanta Eagle is Gay bar where there’s a huge history of late-night sex, drugs and partying going on. It attracts all kinds of characters, inside and outside.

Bottom line, stay out of clubs and gay bars. All this nonsense about rights being violated. There’s a reason cops bust late-night, shady gay leather bars, known for certain kinds of activity.

Do you see cops “raiding” coffee houses, ice cream parlors, and restaurants? Not really… there’s a reason. Listen to your mama and don’t hang out with shady people. It’s that simple.

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cb Reply:

I don’t know where to begin.

The SWATT team was used for what could have been an administrative recall.
In the democratic western world, if I can use that term, no SWATT team is utilized for such trivial above mentioned behavior.
Where in France, England, Australia, Spain…? Maybe 15,20 or 30 years ago!
In ATL, the SWATT team arrested gays who were dancing in there undies!
Calvin Klein and Victoria Secrets have their wear advertised all over our bus stops. Should we bulldozed those down?
SWATT teams are an instrument used when people’s lives are in potential danger. In this instance it was used, I believed, to intimidate, subject it and oppress.
Looking from an outside progressive, free, liberal and safe city and having visited The ATL Eagle prior to the raid, my jaw dropped when I read the news of the SWATT team’s involvement there.
I can draw some similarities to the 52 Egyptians men arrested in Cairo in 2001 for being on a boat on the Nile, God forbid, with other gays!
For having traveled and seen night clubs, bars and other establishments in all parts of the world, this ordeal at the Eagle is very foreign and excessive to me.
I’m saddened that Atlanta is utilizing that extent of their police resources for such social moeurs, while the city’s violent crime rate is among the top of democratized countries. What misplaced priorities and values!
Although, I truly miss your wonderful, beautiful and divers people I will skip visiting ATL for now.Indeed, I will canalized my interest to Europe for a while were there is very little chances of a witnessing a gay bar raid or being victim of a violent crime.
I will follow the news and if favorable maybe return to your city at a later venue.

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Tom Reply:

No illegal activity was taking place, no arrests were made, rights were violated.

Bottom line, don’t make up stories to justify your bigotry.

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Mike Reply:

OH REALLY??? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm? “Shady”?? Any one who goes to these places are ADULTS choosing ADULT life styles and adult sexual choices. It does not matter if they are GAY, STRAIGHT BI-SEXUAL or what ever! Titty bar, straight bar, gay bar or strip club or what ever!! You have the right to live YOUR LIFE as you free willed choose….though when one demands and pushes there “morals” upon anothers free willed consciosness as a free willed indepentant human being that is with others of the same mutual concent—-those “moralist” are the real “sinners”. This is the greatest “sin” of humanity where one human being can think they can demand that another follow them against their free will– (slavery in any form!) subvert and submit and live there free willed life as the other one dictates!

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cb December 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

Honorable Mayor Shirley Franklin,

I writing to you concerning a SWAT team intervention in a gay bar in Atlanta.

Please read on.

I have gone to ATL as a tourist and on business regularly. In fact my next short term goal was to buy property in your city which I love for its diversity and urban flare. I have visited the Aquarium and normally attend a few shows during my stay.

Our next visit was planned for the end of December 2009. We have already rented a vacation home in Tennessee and were planning transitioning and staying in ATL for a few days prior to going to Tennessee.

We have now changed our plans.

As a professional who travels extensively all over the world I really need not be anxious about the fact that I’m gay. Certainly, not of all places like ATL.

In the past I truly enjoyed the quality of hotels, restaurants, shows, nightlife and the diversity and of your city. But a SWAT team intervention at a gay bar for what amounts to possible administrative violations as certainly change my opinion.

Atlanta had certainly won my heart in the pass and I’m sincerely saddened to bypass it now. But as a foreigner I cannot risk the humiliation, harassment or criminal record for benign and harmless behavior. As a tourist (or a new habitant) of Atlanta why I would put myself at risk of being the prey of a police SWAT team for having a few drinks in bar. This smacks of overkill to say the least. Xenophobia and homophobia also comes to mind!

So until I hear and see where the administrative and judicial arm of The City Atlanta is moving on this I will avoid traveling there.

I’m sincerely sorry!

As to avoid being tag and filed in some USA police list, unfortunately, I will not sign this letter. A first for me.

But I will give you my profile.

Committed relationship
Volunteer, socially active and respected in my community.
Professional, educated, multilingual
Healthy and well travel
And I leave some…

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allen November 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm

this is becoming a common problem across the country..abuse of SWAT-type teams and tactics.

anyone ever hear the old saying “when the only tool you have is a hammer..everything starts to look like a nail.”?

a simple uniformed cop, should have told the bar owner to “cease and desist” the illegal behavior, and perhaps issued a summons.

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kinta burnett November 30, 2009 at 3:05 am

im inquiring about the case i just read, I have a case similiar but i was in the barbershop getting my haircut. when police stormed in with a search warrant making everybody lay on ground also handcuffed. detained for atleast 15 minutes. we were all subject to a body search for weapons. after they failed to find any weapons, police officers searched me again this time going in my pockets, where they found cocaine packaged in a sandwich bag. i was then charged with pwi. wasn’t my 4th amendment rights violated?

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AtlantaEagleRaid.com Reply:

That would depend on what was described in the warrant and other factors. It would not be appropriate to provide legal advice about your individual situation, but you should certainly discuss this in detail with the lawyer who is representing you in your criminal case.

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James Zeankowski November 25, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Give em hell, you guys!

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Damon Pointer November 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I have been angered since the moment I read of this on CNN. Although I am not a resident of GA, or Atlanta you have my support in your fight for justice.

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Pete November 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Few points that all of the prior posters seem to be a bit too verklepmt to address:

1. There had been MULTIPLE prior complaints about naked dudes doing each other in the parking lot in the past. The local community asked the police to do something.

2. There are laws in Atlanta that put limitations on people around naked or in their drawers.

3. The officers in the club saw “guys” dancing on the bar in their drawers. It was a violation and as officers of the law they had to do something.

4. Police have to protect themselves, and whenever they go into an unfamiliar situation they may err on the side of caution. There aren’t too many fairy cops, so they are by definition in an unfamiliar situation.

5. How about facing the problem that walking around in public with your ass hanging out and doing each other on the f/in sidewalk is just not acceptable behavior. If you were there, do the world a favor and invest in some psychological counseling in an effort to keep it in your pants in public. And be glad you didn’t get thrown in jail as you should have been.

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Chris Reply:

Yes Pete, let’s address your comments:
1) When these complaints were made, why didn’t the police simply drive by the area (using an unmarked car). If the people were having sex outside, then the police would have seen them and had just cause to make an arrest… if this actually was happening…

2 & 3) There are specific city ordinances regarding providing adult entertainment. And if the Eagle was in violation of these, then they should have been fined (as per the ordinanace) rather then have the constitutional rights of each patron and employee violated. This is the U.S.A., not Communist Russia.

4) Police also have to identify themselves. When they broke in (and I say “BROKE IN” since they lacked the proper warrant), they failed to identify themselves as Police Officers. Had they done so, people might not have feared serious harm to thier persons. Had the APD acted like Police Officers rather then Gang Members, this might not have turned out as badly as it did.

5) If people are spotted having sex out in public, then the police should address it then and there. Instead, if we assume all statements made by the police in thier investigations are accurate, the APD chose to wait and come back later. Sorry to break it to you… the Police acted incorrectly in this matter. The Police stepped all over the constitutional laws they are sworn to uphold.

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Steven W. Reply:

Pete,
As the son of a police officer, someone who himself spent much of his life positioning for a career with the FBI, I take extreme exception to your defense of this raid. Are the items you outline unlawful? Yes. Are they used to our detriment as generalizations of “all gay people” in homophobic drum beating? Absolutely. Let’s review your points:
1. You and the ‘anonymous tipster’ seem to be alone in your awareness of these complaints. The Midtown Ponce Security Alliance (MPSA) – which is a cooperative effort between the ‘local community,’ as you put it, and off-duty Atlanta Police Department officers – has repeatedly denied observing such activities. If the people who live nearby and regularly drive past the establishment, and the trained police officers who patrol the area with the mission of protecting those residents, both state they haven’t seen it, from where have YOU been watching?
2. The laws put limitations on people around WHAT naked? The reality is you may be questioned for your sanity, but as long as your penis is not visibly turgid you can walk around Piedmont Park all day wearing your Fruit of the Looms. So if you meant ‘people *dancing around for money* … in their drawers,’ then yes. If you meant to say ‘people *walking* around … in their drawers,” then no.
3. I beg to differ. Had they sent in officers that first night to take action against the unlawful dancers, then you might have a valid point. However they took action ONLY after four visits over a full SIXTEEN WEEK investigation. This indicates that they were unable to find anything significant to charge anyone with. Further, based on your statements, you should be aware that cocaine found inside a nightstand may not be submitted as evidence in a court of law if such cocaine was found while the arresting officer was executing a search warrant of a home based on probable cause to believe a hostage was being held inside.
4. There aren’t many officers who are professional football players, so I presume that – by your logic – they wouldn’t know how to act appropriately if they had to arrest someone running through the Falcon’s training camp with a knife. Or, should an officer not be Jewish, your logic supposes that he or she should not be held accountable for their conduct should they have to arrest someone in Temple. Unfortunately this does not wash. Had the officers acted this way in a bar primarily catering to African-Americans, and then let the customers go from a predominately white bar, there would be complete – and justified – outrage. Their actions must be consistent when executing similar raids regardless of the clientele.
5. I’m with you on this one. However, the investment of this number of hours and over $324 of cash spent at the bar by officers is not in line with the weight of the charges, which are obviously the most egregious acts they could find to prosecute. The concern for the public’s welfare over ‘dancing without a license’ does not merit the loss to the city it is taking to prosecute it. Should it be allowed? No. But should the officers in a major metropolitan area dedicate this amount of scare resources to these misdemeanor charges? Absolutely not.

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Sam Reply:

Yea, and while this police battlion was harassing the guys dancing in underwear, how many real crimes were underway in HotLanta????? How many murders, rapes, robberies, and so on. If someone is offended by a guy dancing in his calvins then he is welcome to look away or leave the place!! I’ve been to the Eagle many times and have NEVER seen sex in the parking lots!!!
This whole episode is what I would expect in Georgia, that bastion of conservative stupidity!!!!!!!!!!! Go Palin 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sam

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Terri Strong November 24, 2009 at 6:58 pm

This is just plain wrong!!! No one should ever be treated like this for anything!! i hope everyone there files charges and the officers are disciplined–preferably fired!

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john in sf November 23, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I fled Atlanta in the summer of 2007 after years of denigration of gay life in this PREVIOUSLY very comfortable gay city of the south. I moved to Atlanta in 1986. That was when being an openly gay [single] man in midtown Atlanta was not looked on as something to hate and the nightlife was vibrant and a lot of fun. At that time, and for years after that, you could go anywhere in midtown Atlanta and see gay couples out walking around holding hands, even after dark. There were numerous gay owned businesses (more than there were when I left in 2007), and, the gay pride celebration was an all inclusive event and focused on ALL gay civil rights concerns, not just marriage rights for the lucky few.

All of this, including the gay [male] nightclub raids of 2003, 2004 and now 2009, are the result of the changes in the population of Atlanta, gentrification of real estate and the huge changes (and growth) in the influence of [conservative] GLBT money and politics. [Think Cathy Wollard and her ilk here.] Yes, I said it. Gay life in Atlanta has been taken over by big GLBT money and it’s influence which has led to a ridiculously conservative attitude that has put an end to almost all of the fun nightlife Atlanta WAS FAMOUS FOR in the past. “Hotlanta” is a thing of the distant past. Get used to it or do what I did, get the hell out of there. Remember, Cathy Wollard was a very loud voice in the city counsel when the ridiculous bar raids by the police of 2003 and 2004 were perpetrated. Mayor Franklin completely caved to her strong political influence. Mayor Franklin has been a huge disappointment for me.

There are infinitely FEWER single or “openly” coupled gay men in Atlanta now than there were, I’d say, before the olympics, and, due to property values, those who remain are more spread out physically (in the metro area) than ever. Atlanta is also a popular place for lesbians to visit and settle. For the most part, lesbians are just naturally must less inclined to be attracted to kinds of nightlife that gay men are. Lesbians in Atlanta have also earned both strong monetary and political influence in the city.

You are in the south. The south is probably the most conservative part of the country. Atlanta has always been the GLBT mecca of the south. With the increasing comfort (success of the larger GLBT movement) that invites more and more of us to come out (and come out earlier), it is inevitable that those who come out in the south will be more influenced by conservatism. I personally feel that is especially true of women.

None of what I’ve said here is in any way meant to justify what the police did in this incident. It was gut-wrenching to hear this story and the Dallas story. Those two stories make me glad I made the decision I did to move away. That action on my part has been very good for me in many ways.

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roger November 18, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Has the ACLU been contacted? I feel for you folks; I live in Birmingham, AL and haven’t been to Atlanta in several years. This could have happened to any of us at any gay bar in the SE. Very chilling. Good luck with a remedy.

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Hank November 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I really don’t really think anyone has ever been impressed by the Atlanta police. I think that city would be better off with Andy and Barney! Seriously though, all the crime in Atlanta and it takes these guys over two hours to bring down a few guys dancing in underwear? Let us pray that Atlanta is never attacked by terrorists! Are we sure their “under cover’ work wasn’t just an excuse to frequent the bar? It would be funny to know how many man hours the police spent frequenting the place before deciding to arrest the underwear dancers. Sounds like there may be more than a few closet cases on the force down there.

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ENRIQUE November 7, 2009 at 8:20 am

I made the terrible mistake to move from Florida to Georgia where race and sexual preference is a sin (As all this ignorants who live around points of view are).It was until I moved to the south that I realize that there are a lot of those who still think the way their ignorant ancestors belived in their way as a better way.I consider them inferior.All of us who love everybody or like me who never ever think of differences are living a better life because hate is a torture.Yes. I can’t deny that I have that feeling inside of me too but my hate is for those who are fanatic who are so tied to their religion that they have no respect for other people’s belives.I am not religious myself but I respect those who practice religions that don’t humiliate women or gays or animals,etc and there are plenty of those.Georgia is a shame for this country who is always trying to make others belive of the freedom that we “enjoy”.I didn’t realize after living in New york for so many years that this kind of people still exist.Shame!!!!

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N. Lenover November 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

As I read the article, it made me wonder what would happen with the charges against the dancers, doorman, bartender, and manager. Since the raid was already illegal, could they still press the charges against the staff? I have a degree in Paralegal Studies..but this kind of situation wasn’t exactly something we talked about to much so I’m a little confused as to what would happen. Personally, I think that the charges will be dropped in exchange for the bar staff not filing a lawsuit against the police or something. I thought people were smarter than this. The article also talked about people complaining about the bar? I’m curious to know who these people were. It’s a gay bar, were they straight? Or just complete assholes who wanted to make a scene?

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Michael November 5, 2009 at 10:59 am

This is 20th century bullshit. Atlanta, COME OUT of the dark ages and do right by all your tax paying citizens.

I haven’t felt this disgusted in a long time.

A New Englander.

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David November 4, 2009 at 9:29 am

This whole incident is wrong on so many levels and scares the hell out of me.
I’ve been to the ATL Eagle, and to every Eagle or leather bar in what ever city I go visit.
This could have been me.
I hope all involved in this very illegal search from the police stand up and file complaints and sue the hell out of whomever they can.
I know I would.
For the rest of you folks in ATL, Don’t stop the protests, and demand action till you get it. That action would be firing all who were involved in this mess of a raid and a vow from city officials that an illegal search and treatment such as this will never take place again.
If you don’t get the action, then the queers need to band together and hit ATL where it hurts and that is in the pocket book and boycott Atlanta. Period. I know I will now think twice about ever visiting again and spending my money in Atlanta. Someone should call CNN about this. This would be a good story for Anderson Cooper. The mainstream media should be picking up on this story.

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tim November 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I was at the Dallas Eagle Raid a few months back performed bt the TABC Texas Asshole Beveage Commission Thats what these guys are all assholes with narrow minds… Dallas raid was not as violent as the atlanta one it sounds . It still is just not right, we dont see them going into sraight bars and doing this crap.

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AtlantaVisitor November 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Andrew : GLAAD (and Al Sharpton) aren’t going to do a thing about this case, because the homophobic “culprits” involved are mostly African-American.

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Alan Fitzgerald October 31, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I really feel sorry for all the patrons and staff of the Atlanta Eagle for the problems that they had to encounter! I am only passing through Atlanta, and I was looking at the website when I read about what took place in September. I would love to see the USA come together and adapt to the European way of life! If there has been anyone that hasn’t been to Amsterdam, or knows anything about the beautiful city…….let me tell you that it is a very laid back and relaxed city to be in! I truely wish that the USA could be a happier place to live, because of the acceptance to all things that are hated here. DAMN the Atlanta cops and to hell with all of the haters! Let’s all live free and be happy while doing it! (I am ready to go back to Europe now!) ;o)

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Kelly October 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm

This so-called Atlanta Police GLBT Liaison Officer Dani Lee Harris is a traitor and just a hired mouth-piece the police are using to shut us faggots up. Had she really been there to help the gay community, she would have resigned in protest.

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Andrew October 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Hello!

Are you kidding me? I don’t think so. GLAAD should be all over this sh*t. And where is AL Sharpton? The bar and patrons should make a big scene out of

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Charles Rowin October 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm

i am in no mood to discuss homophobia. the reason cops do what they do is they believe it is their job to put everyone in america in jail. there are more prisons built each year than schools. the more money we spend on incarceration the less we can spend on education. the less money we spend on education the more qualified individuals to become police officers. the future looks dim.
the question i have is how can we talk trash about cops when there are people like mike rogers making movies about outing people who do not want to be outed? he should have been a cop.

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Charles Rowin October 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

why are cops so stupid?
because nobody intelligent wants the job.

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NoProblemWithHappyGayFolks October 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm

APD (Atlanta Police Dept.) should be put in permanent quarantine at the ADP. (Atlanta Dog Pound) The last time I checked this was America. I hope the taxpayers in Atlanta have deep pockets, because something tells me that they’re gonna endure several taxhikes and service cuts to pay for their illegal activity.

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DJ October 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I think its time we as the Community start to stand up and make it perfectly clear and known to ALL POLITICIANS, Chief Pennington as well the Officers of the APD… We will change the world and if so… Fire them. We as a Taxpayer of this city deserves the right as Citizens to File a complaint and if it doesn’t satisfy us VOTE THEM OUT!!! I HOPE THE FUTURE MAYORIAL CANDIDATES are listening.. You want us to VOTE for you.. PROMISE and FOLLOW THROUGH with the POSITIVE changes needed. Fire Chief Pennington, (Atlanta has some of the highest crime rates in the country and he came from New Orleans) Hire a Chief that will WORK with us instead of against us.. Also be very vocal toward our POLITICIANS. They get the hint if you tell them that I will vote for the other candidate… Trust me it does work..

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Carrie Neal Walden October 27, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Got chills reading this, even weeks post-event. Wrong on every level. Glad to have been part of the Yelp group who had a small event to spread word and keep attention to this story – will continue to be a vocal supporter of this story being told and remedies made, etc.

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Claude October 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

This will only stop when there is a FEDERAL law protecting the civil rights of patrons at businesses that cater to LGBT people. Whether as an addition to ENDA (which should be expanded to include housing and public accommodations anyway) or as a separate bill, this needs to be made a priority by our movement.

While there are certain forms of discrimination that all oppressed groups face (I would say minority groups except that women are the majority) such as job discrimination there are also often unique situations faced by specific groups that require special remedies. For instance, the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, especially in the South required the Voting Rights Act.

There is a long history of police harassment and intimidation at businesses (and even in public streets) where LGBT people congregate. State and local governments also discriminate in the granting and revoking of licenses and enactment and enforcement of regulations of LGBT businesses. There are whole states with no gay bars. We need a very specific federal law to fight this form of discrimination that would give it’s victims redress in the federal courts. Our political and legal groups need to put their heads together and come up with a law to address this problem.

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Richard October 26, 2009 at 8:00 am

On September 10, 2009, Atlanta Police illegally detained and searched dozens of patrons at a gay bar without a Warrant, Reasonable Suspicion, or Probable Cause.

Regardless of the outcome of any pending investigations against the bar owners or individuals, and despite any empathy for the police officers, in my opinion this event should be placed in the spotlight – in the courts, in the news, in conversation, etc. This event was not only unlawful, it was rooted in homophobia, and until the homophobia can be eliminated from the equation, events like this will happen again.

Picture this scenario: Several highly trained officers go under cover to the Eagle to build a case leading up to the September 10, 2009 event. Unless these officers were openly gay, and due to the event itself, it seems reasonable to project in hindsight that some officers might have been “uncomfortable” watching men, some provocatively dressed, socializing closely with each other, sometimes touching each other and perhaps even going a bit further. Basically, watching the same thing men and women do at any straight bar, only in their own style.

Now, let’s put several of these officers in a room to discuss their under cover findings in order to determine an action plan. It seems fair to further project that these “uncomfortable” (ok, let’s call it homophobic here), homophobic feelings were not discussed at the action plan meeting. Instead, to make up for these feelings as well as the repression of these feelings, good people conspire, almost creating fantasies (e.g., there must be drugs and guns in each gay man’s pocket in that gay bar where men are dancing in underwear without a license). In the end, these good people made collective bad decisions such as illegally detaining and searching dozens of patrons at a gay bar without a Warrant, Reasonable Suspicion, or Probable Cause. It’s a classic pattern.

These violations have extraordinary meaning in our society, and are so acknowledged under the law. To ignore these violations, and to keep repressed the root cause that led a group of highly respected officers down this criminal path, is simply unacceptable.

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wes October 25, 2009 at 10:43 pm

shows even in 2009 we have no rights , hate laws are a joke
of course as i always say fuck the south ,stupid back woods morons
they are asshole republicans

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Lon Reply:

That’s because most of us gay people talk a big game but when it comes to putting our money where our mouth is, most don’t contribute to their politicians or other advocacy groups; yet when something happens because chose to sit on our asses for however long, then we decide to bitch about it. Come on people, run for office, contribute your monies to others that are. Money talks, bullshit walks.

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Pj Reply:

Totally agree…we are a huge voting block and have more expendable income than any other classification. The time is now to put your $ where they will count!

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Saskplanner October 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm

This just shows the acceptance of gay people is a thin facade and that the police are NOT our friends. I had a conversation about this on the weekend about whether the police are the ‘good’ guys or the ‘bad’ guys if you’re a gay person, and unequivocally it comes down on the ‘bad’ side.

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Eric October 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Im not making this comment to say if it was legal or illegal, I just want to provide my thoughts on the situation. I was there that night and was present during the raid. Im a police officer (not APD) and much like everyone else I dont like being placed on the ground either but as an officer I know why they did what they did and can say that the officers in the area I was in wasn’t being rude or making any derogatory comments. They conducted themselves in a professional manner and if I were there working that night I would have done the same thing on a take down. Im not trying to defend what happened, Im just saying that as a gay man and an officer I see both sides of the coin and I dont feel that they acted in an unprofessional way. As far as determining if they violated any laws or civil rights thats up to the courts and not my place to say.

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Greg Lawson Reply:

I wonder why they didn’t do the same thing at the strip club in Roswell? they just told the customers to leave. Wow, that’s a different scenario. sorry, I have had nothing but negative experience with APD. From my house being broken into, being called a fudge packer and told that maybe I should repent and stop living a queer lifestyle as a reason for my being gay bashed.

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steve October 24, 2009 at 7:57 am

Chief Pennington should know better. Having served in leadership capacity in Washington, DC and New Orleans he had to be familiar with gay bars and clubs. Sounds like this bar had less action than those in the other cities mentioned here. Maybe it’s time for him to move on again.

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TOnyJazz October 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm

So, what’s the story with Atlanta’s mayor? Why is she so homophobic?

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Greg Lawson Reply:

Her time is up for being a mayor and she’s moving on. She used us in both elections with lip service then forgot us when it mattered the most. Just another typical policitian speaking from both sides of her mouth, well, except when she trying to hide something like this!!!

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Pj Reply:

agree. I see this all the time…lip service from politicos during the campain then no support whatsoever. I am so sick of that. VOTE WITH YOUR $!!!!!!

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Greg Lawson October 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I think as many people as possible should show up during the Pride (what used to be called Parade) and make it a MARCH again. We need hundreds of men and women to protest during Pride with signs and bull horns, especially since Shirley Franklin who says she had no idea there was a raid, is one of the Marsals. This raid is homophobic to the core. After all, the police HAD a warrant for drugs, prostitution and other illegal activity as the straight strip club on Roswell Road this week. The difference? All customers were asked to leave–no ID’s checked, no one thrown to the grounds and called names. If you are not mad, you ARE NOT Paying attention!!

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John v. Reply:

And the Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade is a police officer who is supposed to be a GLBT advocate but who defends what the cops did at the Eagle rather than apologizing for it. What is the Pride parade supposed to be about anyway.

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Sean Mac October 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

There are Eagle employees with unresolved charges, so I’m sure they’ve been advised to officially keep silent. I’m pretty sure all charges will be dropped for lack of merit. However, there’s no dispute that the APD over-reached their authority in detaining and running background checks on the patrons.

Because the actual charges resulting from the raid are of a licensing/procedure nature, the relevant analogy is this: if a pharmacist at a Wal-Mart didn’t get the legally required signature and picture ID from a customer purchasing suphedrine, would the police have the right to detain and run background checks on all the hundreds of patrons and employees in the store? No.

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Slade Moody October 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Similar event happened in Fort Worth recently. I believe some policemen lost their jobs. Certainly they should here as well. Where are the national gay rights organizations?

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Bart October 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I know every situation has its differences, but in all honesty, I wish some of the old patrons of Stonewall would have been there. To allow oneself, and in this case many, to be pushed around like this knowing that the whole thing was illegal is disheartening. Have we learned nothing?

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Dee Tate October 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Committing such actions without a warrant is wrong and unconstitutional to begin with and if authorities acted the way partons said they did.I see the city of Atlanta settling quite a few lawsuits,but any agreement made by both parties should and better result in officers being fired.If not,the city and police department will lose creditablity,not only among their own citizens but with citizens nationwide which will hurt their tourism industry and end up costing them even more.

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j jack October 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

MAN! this reeks of pre-70’s police raids in New York! Gays and Lesbians should be in an uproar of this kind of treatment in this day in time! The Black society would not. If the police figure they will get away with this kind of hate crimes and nothing is done to right this wrong then other unlawfull raids will surely follow!

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L. Davis October 22, 2009 at 6:06 am

I am a supporter of the Eagle with regard to this matter. As someone interested in this case, I regularly search information about it, but can usually find very little. What I find is typically only a short piece or two on Southern Voice or Creative Loafing. I think the Eagle has come off appearing remarkably quiet about this whole incident. I’m sure the Eagle doesn’t feel this way, but if I have to dig for a few short stories about the raid, I suspect the average person going about their busy lives doesn’t know anything about it. Perhaps the Eagle must tread carefully as there are potential lawsuits involved?

This website is interesting, and the page on past relevant case law is especially so. However, there is no information on it about a pending lawsuit or the status of the various official complaints which have been made. I would like to see more about the ongoing legal process, such as a time-line page that showed when various complaints were lodged with a counting clock (in days) of the time the APD has been non-responsive, etc.

I fear this whole incident will just fade away into history. Many people believe the police did some wrong here, but will end up just shrugging their shoulders and forgetting about it, not because it was the Eagle involved here, but because the incident took very long to process by the authorities and in the meantime faded from peoples’ memories and concerns. Sadly, I see no systematic leadership that will change this outcome.

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