Main | Monday, March 01, 2010

Atlanta To Subpoena 18 Police Officers Over Eagle Nightclub Raid

The Atlanta City Council will subpoena eighteen police officers to force their testimony before a citizen review board about last September's raid of the Atlanta Eagle in which patrons were handcuffed, verbally abused, and forced to lie on the floor.
The Committee on Council's unanimous vote came after more than an hour of testimony, questions and debate Monday on the board's request to increase the pressure on Atlanta police officers who have appeared before the board but refused to answer questions. The union and officers say they are not shielded from criminal charges based on testimony before the board as they are when they answer questions in an APD internal investigation. There is no criminal investigation pending, though four Atlanta Eagle employees are charged with violating city ordinances. A civil case was filed in federal court against the officers and the city, however. “Even with a subpoena, I’m not sure the person has to speak,” council member Cleta Winslow said moments before the vote. A lawyer for the Police Benevolent Association said it would be up to each officer to hire an attorney if he decided to fight the subpoena. If they do not respond to the subpoena, officers could be fined $1,000 each or sentenced to six months in jail, according to Cristina Beamud, the board's executive director.
In November, Lambda Legal filed suit against the city, the chief of police, and 48 police officers on behalf of the Eagle's patrons. The lawsuit alleges violations of the U.S. and Georgia state constitutions.

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