Atlanta Cops Were Drunk During Bar Raid

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2011 6:20 PM ET

Prior to the raid on the Atlanta Eagle bar, two undercover police officers downed several shots of Jägermeister, according to information provided in a lawsuit against the city.

Of the three undercover Atlanta police officers investigating the bar before the September 10, 2009, raid, two of them — Bennie Bridges and Jared Watkins — drank heavily, according to the bartender, and later submitted receipts for their bar tabs to the Atlanta Police Department.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that on the night of the raid, Bridges spent $50 on drinks while Watkins spent $60. A third officer, according to the story, spent only $10.

Information taken from the now-settled lawsuit against the city of Atlanta also revealed that on the night of May 31, 2009, five officers visited the bar undercover and claimed to have spent $5 each. Three other officers reportedly spent $10, $20, and $29, while Bridges, the lead investigator, spent $60.

The Journal-Constitution reports that both a witness and a supervisor later signed off on the officers’ expenses.

Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos said that even though officers are not permitted to consume intoxicating agents while on duty, “exceptions are made for employees working undercover on specific law enforcement operations. Those exceptions must be approved ahead of time in writing by an employee’s supervisor, and must be limited to prevent the impairment of the employee.”

Still, said attorney Dan Grossman, who filed the lawsuit in federal court, “that’s a lot of booze. That goes beyond fitting in. ... If they could have made some argument that it’s essential to an undercover investigation, they should have left the location once the raid started and left it to those who were sober.”

Officer Bridges was arrested earlier this month on charges of speeding, DUI, and possession of marijuana and has been on paid leave.

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