Not only did U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten approve the $1.025 million settlement offer between the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Eagle bar patrons and staffers stemming from the Sept. 10, 2009, raid, he made sure to note the evidence clearly showed the dozens of bar patrons were illegally searched, detained, and arrested. Mayor Kasim Reed, who previously derided the lawsuit against the city as an expense Atlanta couldn’t afford, apologized to the plaintiffs: “I believe that what occurred that evening should not have happened and should not happen again. … As Mayor of the City of Atlanta, I feel pain for anyone mistreated in our city and apologized to each plaintiff in the Calhoun case.”
The settlement, My Fox Atlanta reports, “requires that Atlanta police officers not stop people or search them for weapons without a reasonable suspicion or belief that they have committed a crime or are armed.” Though I’m pretty sure the U.S. Constitution and existing case law, uh, already prohibits that? There’s also this: “Police must also document certain warrantless detentions and searches. The new policies prevent officers from stopping people from making photo, video or audio recordings of police activity so long as it does not stop police from doing their jobs. The agreement requires that uniformed police officers wear name tags and identify themselves upon request when interacting with civilians. The police department must rule on citizen complaints about police misconduct within 180 days and provide training every two years on the terms of the settlement.”
The settlement agreement corrects existing Atlanta Police Department written policies that were unconstitutional. For reals.
The plaintiffs aren’t saying what they’re doing with their million bucks, or how it will be divided.