Atlanta Eagle's Lawyers Want City Held In Contempt

ATLANTA — Lawyers for the Atlanta Eagle Bar, which was raided by Atlanta police last year, said they want a federal judge to find the city in contempt.

The city has admitted evidence relating to the case, including cell phone data, was erased.

Lawyers for the bar said the city is dragging its feet to retrieve deleted e-mails, text messages and cell phone photos.

The case is centered around a September 2009 raid at the bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Atlanta police officers said they got a tip that drugs were being sold in the bar and that sex acts were taking place.

About 60 patrons were searched and some said they were forced to lie face down on the sidewalk handcuffed as police shouted anti-gay slurs.

A civilian review board found 24 cops guilty of false imprisonment. So far, none of the officers have been disciplined.

The bar's lawyer, Dan Grossman, said one year is long enough and he wants the mayor to act.

"It's very important when police officers break the law for the mayor as head of the city to discipline them and send them a message that the city expects them to follow the law." said Grossman.

Grossman also told Channel 2 Action News reporter Diana Davis that he believes a recent blue ribbon panel appointed by the mayor is looking in the wrong direction. Grossman said many of the blue ribbon panel members chosen by the mayor are gay.

Grossman believes that indicates that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed considers the Eagle raid controversy as an issue affecting only the gay community.

According to Grossman, "This is the Atlanta police force that's responsible for the Kathryn Johnston killing and many other problems over the last few years. The mayor seems to think that the only problem with the Eagle raid is that gay people in Atlanta don't like him anymore. And the problem with the Eagle raid is that the mayor had dozens of police officers break the law."

Reed was out of the country and unavailable to comment. A spokesman for the mayor said blue ribbon panel members were selected based on their legal expertise and stature in the community. The spokesman said the investigation remains open in the Atlanta Police Department's Office of Professional Standards.

At the conclusion, the files will be forwarded to the chief of police for review and action, the spokesman said.