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|Atlanta City Council settles with Eagle plaintiffs for $120,000|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|October 03, 2011 14:51|
At today's Atlanta City Council meeting, members voted 13-0 to settle a complaint by eight men for $120,000, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Seven of the men were employees of the bar the night it was raided two years ago and one was a patron, said attorney Dan Grossman.
The settlement is for $15,000 for each of the eight men.
Dan Grossman was the lead attorney in the successful federal lawsuit against the city for the unconstitutional raid that resulted in the city settling for $1.025 million.
The second lawsuit alleges many of the same offenses in the original lawsuit filed in November 2009, shortly after the raid occurred on Sept. 10, 2009. The plaintiffs in the second case accuse the officers named in the lawsuit of violating the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protecting people from illegal search and seizures.
Like the plaintiffs in the first lawsuit, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit spell out how they were forced to the floor and some to lay in spilled beer and a broken beer bottle while officers, including members of the now defunct paramilitary Red Dog squad, stepped on their backs, told them to "shut the fuck up" whenever a person questioned what was happening and then frisked them.
"Defendants acted with reckless, deliberate and callous indifference to the constitutionally protected rights of the plaints," the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs also allege the defendant officers are "guilty of false imprisonment."
"The individual defendants, with malice and oppression, falsely imprisoned and/or combined and conspired to falsely imprison the plaintiffs and did so under color of legal process," according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs also accused the defendants of assault.
"When the individual defendants entered the Eagle, shouted to the plaintiffs to get on the floor, and threatened them with violence (including threatening to hit a patron on the head with a bar stool) the individual defendants committed unlawful acts that would lead a person reasonably to apprehend a violent injury," according to the suit. "Such acts are civilly actionable as an assault under the laws of Georgia."
Lopez, who was arrested the night of the raid and went on trial for alleged permit violations, had his charges dismissed during the trial. He states in his lawsuit that he was arrested without probable cause, a violation of his constitutional rights. He also alleges that officers used "malice" when arresting him.
The police department stated it conducted an undercover operation in the gay Midtown bar after the city received two complaints of alleged illegal sex and drug activity taking place in the bar. Nobody was arrested for illegal sex or illegal drugs.
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