6 APD Officers Fired Over Eagle Raid

ATLANTA,None — Six Atlanta police officers were fired after an investigation into a raid of an Atlanta gay bar, the department confirmed Friday.

Sources had confirmed to Channel 2's Ryan Young earlier in the day that at least five officers were being let go.

Nine other officers were reprimanded over the raid, and three more officers await discipline hearings next week.

Police Chief George Turner said the officers who were terminated violated the department’s truthfulness policy.

“Honesty goes to the very heart of a police officer’s credibility,” Turner said. “The public must be able to trust its police officers and expects them to tell the truth at all times.”

Last month, several Atlanta police officers had already turned in their guns and badges after an investigation concluded they mishandled a raid at the Atlanta Eagle Bar in September 2009.

The Atlanta Police Department Office of Professional Standards found that 10 officers were “not truthful” about the incident, patrons’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated and discriminatory statements were made during the raid.

Lt. Tony Crawford, Sgt. Willie Adams, Sgt. John Brock, Investigator Bennie Bridges, Officer Jeremy Edwards and Officer Cayenne Mayes were all dismissed for violating APD’s truthfulness policy.

Officers Brandon Jackson and James Menzoian had already been dismissed as a result of another, unrelated, internal investigation, the department said. Maj. Debra Williams was demoted to lieutenant and subsequently retired effective July 6.

“The reports conclude that most of the officers involved in the operation did not conform to the APD’s standard operating procedures,” the mayor’s office said.

Officers said they raided the bar on Ponce de Leon on Sept. 10, 2009, after they got a tip that drugs were being sold and that sex acts were taking place there. Police searched about five dozen patrons and arrested eight employees in the raid. Witnesses said officers used anti-gay slurs and roughed up customers.

The report said patrons were unnecessarily forced on the ground while background checks were run. When asked why, one officer said, “There’s a risk factor involved when you’re dealing with people you don’t know anything about. S&M, that has a stigma of some sort of violence,” according to the report.

Another officer is quoted as saying, “Seeing another man have sex with another man -- I would classify that as very violent.”

The city paid 28 people $1,025,000 to settle the federal lawsuit.