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|Atlanta City Council apologizes to Eagle lawsuit plantiffs|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|January 06, 2011 12:32|
The Atlanta City Council voted this week to officially apologize to the plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle federal lawsuit that was settled by the city for $1.025 million last month.
During the Jan. 3 meeting, the council voted 14-0 to apologize to the plaintiffs for the illegal raid on the gay bar, during which police searched and ran background checks on all patrons. Mayor Kasim Reed also issued an apology to the plaintiffs last month.
The apology, proposed by Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, reads, in part, “Whereas, the City of Atlanta is a mosaic of ethnicities, races, religions and sexual orientations … and Whereas, it is imperative that all members of Atlanta’s varied communities — be they African American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT, youth or senior citizens — feel their freedoms are respected, now therefore, the City Council of the City of Atlanta hereby resolves and offers an apology to the plaintiffs named in the civil action styled Calhoun, et. al. v. Pennington, et. al.”
Bond, who had offered to apologize to all people impacted by the raid last year, said this week he wanted to follow through with an apology to the plaintiffs because of the “egregious nature of the raid.”
“So many rights were violated,” Bond said this week.
“Atlanta is the ‘city too busy to hate’ and the cradle of the Civil Rights movement. We cannot tolerate that type of abuse,” he said.
Chris Lopez, a former bartender at the Atlanta Eagle who was arrested the night of the raid, was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. He has filed his own individual claim against the city seeking $250,000 for “false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.”
Bond said council members kept the apology resolution to only the plaintiffs because of claims like Lopez and others that may occur from those at the bar that night — apologizing to everyone, he said, could put the city at further financial risk.
“There were issues of concern that other plaintiffs may file, but those concerns were addressed and everyone [on the council] was on board and all felt this needed to be done,” Bond said.
And with Lopez’ complaint still to be resolved, Bond predicted that one day, “We’ll probably issue another apology to him.”
Top photo: After it was proposed by Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, the Atlanta City Council officially apologized to the Eagle plaintiffs this week for the September 2009 raid on the gay bar. (Courtesy photo)
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