Eagle raid officers deny lying

ATLANTA,None — An attorney representing three former Atlanta police officers who were fired over their involvement in a controversial gay bar raid said the men were "thrown under the bus."

"There was truly a rush to judgment," said attorney Mary Huber.

Huber has already argued on behalf of two of the fired officers before the city's Civil Service Board, saying they should get their jobs back. Six officers were fired over what happened when officers raided midtown’s Atlanta Eagle in 2009. Officers are accused of storming the bar and ordering everyone to the floor, using homophobic slurs.

According to an internal investigation, several officers lied about the events, but Huber said discrepancies in the officers' statements were used to justify their firings for "lack of truthfulness." She argues that differences in statements do not necessarily constitute intentional lies.


"During the period of three interviews, people are going to change their testimony, whether on large issues or small," Huber said.

One of her clients, Cayenne Mayes, testified before the Civil Service Board last week that he did not intend to lie.

Huber said Mayes was part of many raids at APD and that he started to remember more about the night of Sept. 10, 2009 at the Eagle and frisking patrons only as the investigation progressed.

She said that would explain the discrepancies.

"Internal affairs never confronted the officers with their change in statements. They never [had a chance to] explain themselves," she said.

The officers involved in the raid testified once before a Citizen Review Board in 2010, and then again before APD internal affairs and an outside law firm.

Patrons of the Eagle bar said they were forced to lie on the floor while police checked their criminal histories and insulted them with anti-gay slurs. The city settled with the patrons for more than $1 million, reprimanded some officers and fired others who investigators said lied about their actions.

APD had no comment regarding the proceedings currently before the Civil Service Board.

But midtown Atlanta residents said the scars of the incident are still too fresh.

"It was just a horrible incident," said Joan Saunders.

She said the officers should not be allowed back "because it says that bad behavior looks good, and my tax dollars don't deserve that."

The Civil Service Board has 30 days to rule on the cases of two officers it has heard so far.