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|Business Spotlight: Atlanta Eagle remembers one-year anniversary of police raid|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|September 03, 2010 00:00|
On Sept. 10, the Atlanta Eagle was raided by the Atlanta Police Department and eight employees, including dancers from the bar’s popular “Underwear Night,” were arrested and charged with various business license violations.
The violations included not having a license to run an adult establishment because dancers were allegedly dancing erotically and in the nude rather than in their underwear, according to police reports.
More than 60 patrons were also forced to lie on the floor as they had their IDs checked and their pockets searched by members of the notorious Red Dog Unit, a paramilitary narcotics squad of the APD.
No drugs were found. The eight men went on trial in March and seven had their cases dismissed during the trial or were found not guilty. One person didn’t show up and a bench warrant was issued for him.
A federal civil lawsuit filed by many of the patrons against the city of Atlanta and members of the APD is pending.
The Atlanta Eagle, an institution in this city for nearly 25 years, is still around and plans to hold a memorial and celebration for the one-year anniversary of the raid.
“We want to remind the community this happened,” says Robby Kelley, co-owner of the gay bar.
Financially, the bar continues to struggle since the raid as well, he said.
“We also want to show people that a year later we’re still here, nothing has happened and nothing is going to happen,” he said.
On Sept. 9, people are invited to come to the bar at 10:30 p.m. and hold hands around the bar; much the same way people did the night after the raid occurred last year.
On Sept. 10, the day of the anniversary, the bar will hold a party with the return of DJ Brett Long and the much-missed dancers will be back.
“They will be wearing custom-made leather shorts … so nobody can say anything inappropriate about their attire,” Kelley added.
The Orange Party is set for Saturday, Sept. 11. And if you wear orange or flag orange — as in wear an orange hanky — to the Orange Party the bar will also buy you a shot.
At 1 a.m. on Saturday, there will be a balloon drop with t-shirts and other giveaways inside. One lucky balloon popper will find a pair of Eagles tickets. The Eagles play at Piedmont Park on Oct. 15.
While there will be fun had, Kelley says the raid still has a deep impact on everyone who was there that night and should not be forgotten.
“We want to keep fighting against what wrong was done to us and done wrong to the entire community,” he said.
Top photo: Atlanta Eagle (by Dyana Bagby)
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