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|Federal judge signs settlement agreement between city, Atlanta Eagle over gay bar raid|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|December 08, 2010 14:18|
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten has signed the settlement agreement between the city of Atlanta and plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle today, according to his clerk, making the more than $1 million settlement official and concluding the lawsuit over the botched gay bar raid.
The Atlanta City Council voted 14-0 on Monday to approve the settlement that included the $1.025 million monetary payout to the plaintiffs as well as ordering the Atlanta Police Department "to take certain actions in regard to their standard operating procedures" in the wake of the raid and lawsuit.
The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case. Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle filed the federal lawsuit against the city and dozens of Atlanta Police Department officers in November 2009 following the botched raid of the gay bar on the night of Sept. 10, 2009.
The suit stated the Atlanta Police Department and its Red Dog unit violated the patrons' federal and state constitutional rights by illegally detaining them, searching them without warrants and using anti-gay slurs during the raid.
Atlanta Eagle patrons alleged they were forced to lie face down on the bar's floor the night of the raid as members of the APD¹s Red Dog Unit searched them for drugs and ran background checks on them using their ID cards. Eight people were arrested and charged with operating an adult establishment without proper city permits. The raid occurred on the bar's once popular "Underwear Night" in which dancers clad in underwear entertained patrons.
Police stated the raid came after a months-long investigation following complaints to former Mayor Shirley Franklin's office of illegal sex taking place at the bar. No one was arrested that night for illegal sex or possession of drugs.
A trial of the "Eagle Eight" occurred in Municipal Court in March. Charges against several of those arrested were dismissed during the trial while three others were found not guilty.
Top photo: Attorney Dan Grossman (left) and plaintiff Geoff Calhoun embrace after the Atlanta City Council unanimously voted to approve a settlement agreement between the city and the plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle raid case. (by Dyana Bagby)
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