|Anti-gay Atlanta police officers among those put on admin leave after Eagle investigations|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:00|
Seven of 10 officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid — including one sergeant who said he considered gay people violent — have been put on administrative duty for violating the Atlanta Police Department's truthfulness policy due to fallout from investigations into the botched gay bar raid.
Two officers involved in the raid have already been terminated due to a separate, unrelated investigation, states a press release from the APD.
"The investigative reports prepared by the Office of Professional Standards and Greenberg Traurig concluded that ten (10) sworn members of the Atlanta Police Department violated the APD's truthfulness policies," states a press release from the APD.
"Chief Turner placed 7 of these 10 officers on administrative duty pending the outcome of a disciplinary review. The officers were required to return their guns and badges and will not work in a law enforcement capacity until resolution of this matter," the release states.
The Atlanta Eagle, a midtown gay bar, was raided Sept. 10, 2009. Patrons in the bar the night of the raid alleged they were treated roughly, searched and detained with no probable cause and had anti-gay slurs used against them by members of the now defunct Red Dog Unit, a paramilitary drug unit.
Plaintiffs sued the city in federal civil court and in December the city settled with the plaintiffs for $1.025 million. Eight employees were arrested the night of the raid, but they were found not guilty or had their cases dismissed.
The officers on administrative duty are:
Lt. Tony Crawford
Officer James Menzoian and Brandon Jackson have already been fired from their employment as a result of a different investigation, according to the APD.
The third officer, Bennie Bridges, is currently suspended without pay as a result of a separate, unrelated investigation, the release states. Bridges was arrested in Cobb County earlier this year for DUI and possession of marijuana. He was the lead investigator of the raid.
"Chief Turner has also demoted the commander of the units which oversaw the operation from the rank of Police Major to the rank of Police Lieutenant," according to the APD.
The commander was Debra Williams, APD spokesperson Carlos Campos told the GA Voice.
"These are preliminary decisions. Chief Turner continues to digest the findings contained in the OPS and Greenberg reports and will determine the appropriate final disciplinary action for each of the accused officers," the APD release states.
Officers who made anti-gay statements turn in guns, badges
Sgt. Brock stated in the OPS investigation and the independent investigation by Greenberg Traurig that he believed gay people were violent.
In the OPS investigation, Brock, who was a key player in organizing the raid, said he forced patrons to the floor because he believed there was violence associated with being in a leather bar:
"There's a risk factor involved when you're dealing with people you don't know anything about. S&M, that — that has a stigma of some violence," Brock said, according to the report.
In the Greenberg Traurig interview with Brock, he said he believed gay people were more violent.
"In the past I have as a patrol officer handled calls where there are gay couples living in residence where one is mad at the other, and they slash clothes, furniture, anything they can do. They’re very violent. So, no. I definitely do think there was a high risk there. I think the only safe way -- and I think you’re getting towards why I had everybody put on the ground," Brock said.
When asked if Brock thought gay people are more violent than other citizens, Brock responded that they are.
"My experience, yes. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when they’re -- when they get mad, they get really mad. So ...," Brock said.
A finding in the OPS report addressing the alleged anti-gay slurs hurled against patrons of the Eagle recommends disciplinary action against Officer Jeremy Edwards for his use of discriminatory statements:
"Officer Jeremy Edwards (member of the Vice Unit at the time of the raid) for his statement during this investigation said that 'Seeing another man have sex with another man in the ass, I would classify that as very violent.' This statement can be conferred as derogatory based on the assumed sexual orientation of those persons he witnessed engaged in such activity in the bar," the report said.
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