Judge's ruling could give officer job back after Eagle raid firing

by: Mark Winne Updated:

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ATLANTA - An officer fired after a controversial raid at an Atlanta gay bar could soon be back on the force.

The controversial raid at the Eagle bar in midtown Atlanta cost the city more than $1 million in settlement money.

It also led to major changes in the Police Department.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne found out a judge is now ordering the city to give one of the fired officers his job back.

A representative for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers said Sgt. Willie Adams' father, retired from the Atlanta Police Department himself, died soon after the younger Adams was fired, long before the level of vindication a judge's order brings.

The IBPO's Kliff Grimes said the union had Adams' back for nearly four years since the controversial Eagle bar raid.

Now, Adams is in line for partial back pay if the city follows superior court Judge Kelly Lee's order in essence, his lawyer says, undoing his firing.

Lee's order says the court reverses a decision by the City of Atlanta Civil Service Board that there's no evidence in the record to support the board's conclusions on two truthfulness charges.

"The officer didn't do anything wrong," attorney Mary Huber told Winne. "When we left the courthouse and it sunk in that he would be getting his job back, he started to tear up."

"I think he should have never been fired in the first place," Grimes said.

Grimes said Adams has been working at the Clayton County Sheriff's Office the past several months

Huber said he'll have to go back to work at APD to get the back pay, but an emailed statement on behalf of the city law department said, "The city respectfully disagrees with the judge's order to reinstate Sergeant Adams and plans to appeal."

"The city allowed him to be the scapegoat," Grimes told Winne. "It (took) two, almost three years for this to happen and a person like Mary and this judge to see it, when the truth was there all the time."

The order indicates Adams isn't challenging the board's ruling affirming suspensions totaling 28 days.

"I think the judge is correct after reviewing the ruling," lawyer Mark Bullman said.

Bullman said he wasn't one of the lawyers who sued the city in the Eagle case, but did handle related cases.

He said he is disappointed the city didn't handle Adams' disciplinary process differently.

"Unfortunately, the basis for firing Sgt. Adams was not for proper reasons," Bullman told Winne.

Huber said one of the truthfulness counts involved whether Adams allowed officers to keep bar patrons on the floor a long time during the raid when he maintains he directed they be allowed to sit.