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|Mayor Kasim Reed speaks out on investigation into Red Dog Unit officers|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|February 01, 2011 08:32|
In an interview with WSB TV, Mayor Kasim Reed spoke out for the first time about the current internal investigation into three Atlanta Police Red Dog Unit officers allegedly pulling over two men and strip searching them in the middle of the road in broad daylight. Two of the accused Red Dog officers were involved in the illegal raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar in Midtown.
"It is going to be robust and swift. We have a problem," Reed told WSB TV reporter Ryan Young.
The men's allegations are being investigated by the Citizens Review Board as well.
"Now when things when brought to our attention by the CRB we are not going to make excuses, we're going to change," Reed told WSB TV.
The CRB is also investigating an additional allegation of a person who said Red Dog officers forced him to pull down his pants in public as well. This information was made public at Monday's meeting of the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Group meeting.
WSB TV reporter Eric Phillips broke the story of the two men and their allegations against the officers of the APD's Red Dog Unit on Jan. 27. In another story about the two men, Phillips spoke to one of the men, Shawn Venegas, who said, “I feel like I've been molested by another man. I feel like I've been raped. It's degrading is what it is.”
Mark Bullman is the attorney for the two men. Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the Atlanta Eagle plaintiffs, is co-counsel.
The two men, Brian Kidd and Shawn Venegas, said they were forced from their car at gunpoint on June 30. The said the officers fondled and groped their genitalia while saying they were looking for drugs. No drugs were found.
Read their full complaints they filed with the APD Office of Professional Standards here.
Reports that Chief George Turner may disband or make significant changes to the Red Dog Unit were made over the weekend. On Monday, APD spokesperson Carlos Campos told the GA Voice, "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.
Before the city settled with plaintiffs in the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit in December, Grossman accused the city of destroying evidence. Reed said at an October meeting of the Atlanta Executive Network that an investigation into those accusations would also be swift.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this and if we find out the assertions are true … we will deal with this in swift fashion. We will deal with these allegations in an aggressive fashion.”
As part of the $1 million Eagle settlement, the APD must also conduct a thorough investigation into all of the officer involved in the raid to be completed 180 days from when the judge made the order on Dec. 8.
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