fiscal responsibility

Atlanta Mayor’s Biggest Problem With Eagle Bar Raid? Suing For Justice Is Too Expensive

My goodness, this federal lawsuit over the Stonewall-style raid of Atlanta’s Eagle bar is gettin’ big! We can barely follow all the new developments (lots of new defendants added, with the total now at 28), but with subpoenas in hand the Atlanta Citizen Review Board has been forcing officers to testify about what went down that night. But now the lawsuit is becoming political: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is bashing the legal effort, saying taking the police department to court (many of the officers are being sued as individuals) is just the worst thing to do right now because … Atlanta has so many budget problems.

And it’s like, maybe that should have been a concern when the police decided to budget a raid in the first place?

“Asking for unlimited punitive damages at a time when the city is facing considerable budget challenges,” says Reed in a statement. “As the chief financial steward of this city, I have to take that threat very seriously.” Also worth taking seriously: A person’s right not to be ordered to the ground, handcuffed, and forced to lay in broken glass.

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  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    Lets see, Atlanta’s police department has the budget to send 28 officers, squad cars, wagons, dog units, and all the time spent planning a raid AND THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE ACT OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR WITNESSED, EVEN BY THE HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTED POLICE OFFICERS.

    Just how well does the mayor think that the city is using their budget.

    According to the police department itself, 26 of the 28 police officers and administrators participated in the pre-raid planning. Then there was the raid itself plus, based on the determination of having 3 patty-wagons, they had planned for lots of arrests and all that after arrest paperwork.

    So, what was the budget for this raid? 26 planners x 4 hours average (an educated guess based on non-police event planning); 28 officers in the raid x 6 hours (travel time, raid time, clean-up at the scene); 28 officers x 6 hours report preparation, interviews, report filing, meeting with DA; 6 (total guess here) reviewing supervisors x 10 hours (report reading and recommendations, meeting with DA) = estimate 500 man hours x $50/hour average loaded for salary and benefits = $25,000.

    $25,000 to determine that THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE EVENT OF CRIMINAL CONDUCT! (Which is quite surprising to me, really, not one joint, not one little baggie of meth or coke, not one non-prescription Viagra, not one BJ or boinking in the backroom; not like the LA or SF Eagle).

    We often here about DWB (driving while black) profiling. Well this is barhopping while gay profiling.

    Mr. Mayor, you suggest that the shame is that this is going to cost the city a lot of money, money that could be spent on civic needs.

    The real shame, Mr. Mayor, is that you administrate a police department that is more concerned with flexing its homophobia and bigotry than it is concerned about protecting ALL citizens from illegal conduct.

    The abuse here is so grotesque that each of the police officers involved is now being sued personally as individuals. Better start putting away tens-of-thousands of dollars boy, because lawyers are expensive and you are going to need good ones to defend the undefendable.

    This should rattle every police officer in every police department: you too are subject to the law and when you break the law, it is going to cost you big time. I hope the legal fees bankrupt each and every one of them (or their blue shield union should the union pay their fees).

  • Cam

    Next the mayor will be saying that they shouldn’t prosecute muggers and rapists because the poor guys just can’t afford to go to trial. I have an idea for the mayor, if you don’t want the city to get sued, teach your cops not to illegally target businesses owned by minority and protected groups for harrassment.

  • greybat

    I guess this is a Teachable Moment!

  • Michael

    If you can’t stand the heat then don’t start a frigging fire. Perhaps the mayor should start blaming the police department for it’s illegal tactics instead of finding fault with the victims.

  • B

    While I can sympathize with the mayor’s problem – assuming he didn’t know what some yahoos in the police department where doing – if you hire incompetents to save a few bucks, don’t be surprised if it costs you a lot more in the long run.

  • B

    No. 4 · B : (somehow it got sent too soon – before I added the following):

    What the mayor should be doing is telling the police chief, “take it out of their salaries and if you can’t, maybe we can take it out of yours.”

  • Steve

    No, what the mayor should be telling the police chief, and a bunch of other police officers, is, “You’re fired.”

  • Mike

    The Mayor and Police Chief at the time of the raid are no longer in office so I can’t blame Mayor Reed for the incident. But, as a candidate last Fall, then State Senator Reed called for a full investigation of the incident. It seems like he might be backtracking on that. I do, however, understand the massive budget shortfalls he has walked in to.

    The LGBT community was highly polarized in the race for Mayor last Fall between Mayor Reed and form City Councilwoman Norwood. I supported Norwood because she was a pro-marriage-equality candidate while Reed held the typical “everything but marrigae” party line. I think iw as right to do so.

Comments are closed.