Atlanta Police take action against officers in gay bar raid
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -
The Atlanta Police Department has placed seven officers on administrative duty and ordered them to turn in their guns and badges for their actions in a controversial gay bar raid.
An independent investigation released this week concluded 10 members of the Vice Unit and the Red Dog Team, including three supervisors, violated APD's policy regarding truthfulness in the 2009 raid at the Atlanta Eagle club on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown.
According to a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, Atlanta Police chief George Turner placed seven of the ten 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 officers are Lt. Tony Crawford, Sgt. Willie Adams, Sgt. John Brock, Officer Jeremy Edwards, Officer Dimitri Jacques, Officer Vicente Marcano and Officer Cayenne Mayes.
Of the remaining three officers, the department has already dismissed James Menzoian and Brandon Jackson as a result of a separate, unrelated investigation. The third officer, Bennie Bridges, is currently suspended without pay as a result of a separate, unrelated investigation.
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 release, today's actions are preliminary decisions. The release states "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."
Police said the raid was conducted based on reports that men were engaging in sex at the bar while others watched.
Customers and employees said they were detained and forced to lie on the floor for as long as an hour while officers checked for criminal histories and taunted them with slurs about their sexuality.
An internal investigation conducted by the Greenberg Traurig law firm found that some officers did use offensive language and slurs directed at some of the bar's patrons. One officer was quoted as saying, "Raiding a gay bar was more fun than raiding ******* with their crack." Another officer was quoted as saying, "Mmm, mmm, mmm, look at all this loving going on." There was another officer quoted as saying, "That's the one that said I … had no rights, that's the one that kept telling me to shut the **** up."
The report found that there was enough evidence to support allegations that 10 police officers deleted cell phone pictures, text messages, and other data about the raid. Plus, there was no search warrant executed which is a violation of the fourth amendment.
Chief Turner told CBS Atlanta on Wednesday, "What we want everyone to know is that we will deal with these officers accordingly if they are in violation of the standard operating procedures."
The department plans for an expert to conduct extensive training for every APD officer within the next 90 days.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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