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Atlanta Mayor Apologizes for Bar Raid

Atlanta Mayor Apologizes for Bar Raid


Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed apologized Wednesday for the mistreatment of Atlanta Eagle bar patrons last year when police conducted a violent raid of the establishment.

"I believe that what occurred that evening should not have happened and should not happen again," Reed said in a press conference, according to the GA Voice. Reed was joined by police chief George Turner and two of the department's LGBT liaison officers. "As mayor of the city of Atlanta, I feel pain for anyone mistreated in our city and apologize to each plaintiff in the Calhoun case."

At least nine undercover Atlanta police officers raided the bar September 10, 2009, without a warrant, posing as customers to conduct a criminal investigation. At 11 that night, 12 SWAT-like officers entered the bar without a warrant to conduct a full raid. The undercover officers initiated the raid because they saw some patrons dancing partially clothed, according to the plaintiffs in the case, Calhoun v. Pennington. The action quickly turned violent, and officers made derogatory remarks toward customers, who included several elderly men.

None of the bar patrons were charged with breaking any laws, but eight Eagle employees were charged with allowing "unlicensed adult entertainment" -- dancing in underwear -- without a permit.

The city settled with the plaintiffs, paying out a cumulative $1.025 million. The police department also revised its policies on raid and investigation protocol.

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