Image via Project Atlanta Q
In 2009, Atlanta’s SWAT-style cops on their vice squad and now-disbanded Red Dog team raided the Atlanta Eagle gay bar without a warrant, handcuffed and forced about 62 innocent customers to lie face-down on a floor covered with spilled beer, dirt, and broken glass, and then illegally searched and confiscated ID from these men without initially making any charges or arrests.
In the two years that followed, the dancers originally charged with “lewd conduct” had the charges against them dropped, the city begrudgingly paid out over $1 million in a federal human rights lawsuit to the abused patrons, and an internal investigation discovered the involved officers lying and trying to destroy evidence (like e-mails, text messages, and photos) about their wrongdoing.
Well finally, an investigative team of lawyers has said that at least 10 officers lied about the raid. The force has fired six of those officers with more possible firings to come. The only downsides: the owner of the bar (who lost his house and suffered financial loss due to the raid) has gotten jack squat in terms of re-compensation. And the officers weren’t fired because of their behavior during the raid but because of their actions during the investigation.
So… raiding a gay bar and treating its innocent patrons like shit: totally OK. Lying about it: sorta bad.