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|Atlanta Police say no plans at this time to disband Red Dog Unit|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|January 31, 2011 13:03|
Conflicting reports emerged over the weekend about the fate of the Atlanta Police Department's notorious Red Dog Unit, but a police spokesman said this morning that the unit is not being disbanded.
WABE, citing anonymous sources, is reporting the unit may be disbanded as soon as this week. Reporter Jim Burress noted that APD spokesperson Sgt. Curtis Davenport said that was a "rumor."
WSB TV, however, had an exclusive interview with Chief George Turner over the weekend in which Turner told reporter Eric Philips that there were no plans to disband the unit.
Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the APD, said this afternoon, "To the best of my knowledge, [the Red Dog Unit] is not being disbanded today."
Chief Turner talked with members of the unit on Friday and told them no decision has been made on what to do with the unit, Campos added.
The reports follow news that two men claimed they were fondled and groped by three Red Dog officers at a traffic stop. The men have filed complaints with the APD's Office of Professional Standards Unit. Read their reports here.
The internal investigation into the allegations is ongoing, Campos added.
"Chief Turner has been emphatic since becoming chief that internal investigations be done expeditiously and concluded so the public can know the results," Campos said.
Campos said the chief learned of the complaints by the two men groped at the traffic stop in late December and that the investigation is nearly complete. The officers involved may face being fired.
The Red Dog Unit was also involved in the illegal raid on the Midtown gay bar the Atlanta Eagle in 2009. Patrons of the gay bar when it was raided said the unit, known for wearing paramilitary gear, used anti-gay slurs, excessive force and forced them to lay on the ground for up to an hour while they were searched and had background checks run on them.
None of the patrons were arrested.
The city eventually settled a federal lawsuit against the city and numerous APD officers involved in the Eagle raid for more than $1 million. Also as part of the settlement, the APD must conduct a thorough investigation into all officers involved in the raid to be completed by May.
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