by: Mark Winne Updated:CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
Officers fired for a controversial raid at a gay bar are back on the force in another department.
The sheriff sat down with Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne to explain why he
hired officers with high-profile problems in their past.
The raid at
the Eagle bar in Atlanta cost the city more than $1 million in settlement money. But that's not stopping Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough from hiring two of the fired officers.
"The upside is that the citizens of Clayton County get some of the finest-trained, most experienced officers," Kimbrough told Winne.
"They feel that they should be vindicated," Kliff Grimes with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers said.
Grimes acknowledges Atlanta police fired then Sgt. Willie Adams for alleged search, truthfulness and other violations in connection with the Eagle bar raid.
"He was railroaded politically," Grimes said about Adams.
Grimes said Adams shouldn't be barred from policing.
"He was absolutely not guilty for what he was fired for," Grimes said.
Grimes acknowledged the same thing happened to Officer Cayenne
Mayes, who also faced unrelated strip search allegations, but maintains he's not guilty and shouldn't be stripped of the badge.
"That unit got a lot of complaints, but he only did his job," Grimes said.
Grimes said he called Kimbrough and asked him to hire Adams and Mayes.
"I respect the judgment of the Atlanta police department. Certainly Chief George Turner is a friend and mentor of mine," Kimbrough told Winne.
Kimbrough said he reviewed the officers' records, interviewed the pair and hired them.
"I still felt it was a worthwhile endeavor to invest in having these officers come to work for us," Kimbrough said.
Lawyer Mark Bullman, who represented plaintiffs in
the Eagle and Mayes' strip search allegations, told Winne Adams may be a better officer for what he's been through, but that he's shocked and mystified that Mayes would be hired.
Grimes said he knew he was asking the sheriff to take a political risk with little political upside.
"They always want the officers to go out and protect and serve, not very many people out there to protect and serve them," Grimes said.