Eagle Owner, Customers Say More Should Be Done

ATLANTA,None — Customers and an owner of a midtown gay bar are speaking out after six Atlanta police officers were fired for their involvement in a botched raid two years ago.

A city investigation detailed how 16 officers lied or destroyed evidence in the case.

The three spoke exclusively to Channel 2's Tony Thomas.

Two years after the botched raid, the Atlanta Eagle is still open, but struggling.

The owners of the bar didn't get any part of the $1 million federal verdict against the Atlanta Police Department.

One owner told Thomas he's glad the city finally fired some of those involved, but wonders why others are still on the force.

“I feel like I've been punished for doing absolutely nothing wrong while these people are getting a little letter stuck in their file saying everything is OK,” bar co-owner Robert Kelley said.

Kelley said he's lost his house and credit in the two years since Atlanta police raided the Eagle, ordering everyone to the floor and using anti-gay slurs.

Friday, commanders fired six officers for lying about what happened that night and suspended five others for their part in a cover-up.

But to Kelley's dismay, four officers were given only written reprimands.

“These people deserved at least a week off in suspension, not just a little piece of paper in their file saying ‘Don't do it again.’ Because if that's all they get, they are just going to do it again,” Kelley said.

Kelley and two of his customers came to the WSB-TV studio's Saturday to talk for the first time since the moves were announced.

“I'm not sure it's enough, but I'm cautiously optimistic,” customer John Curran said.

Curran and other customers won a $1 million federal lawsuit, but he still worries about what's to come.

“They do this to one group, what's stopping them from doing it to another. It's just going to take some time to rebuild the trust with everybody I think,” customer Geoff Calhoun said.

Kelley reiterated his point saying, “I think it was important that the officers that were fired should have been fired. I think they stopped short on a message.”

One big question for APD and lawyers around the metro area, what impact will this have on the officers testimonies in other cases?

Some of those past cases are already being revisited.

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