Atlanta police chief responds to raid at gay bar

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Police Chief Richard PenningtonAtlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington held a press conference this afternoon responding to the criticisms leveled at his department concerning a raid on the Eagle last week.

Pennington said complaints filed with the APD’s Office of Professional Standards would be fully investigated. He said the department was wrong to not involve LGBT liaison Officer Dani Lee Harris in the raid, and protocols may be changed to require future raids to be videotaped.

Pennington said his officers had conducted an undercover investigation after anonymous complaints about the Eagle received in May. Undercover officers in the club observed “criminal” behavior, according to Pennington. He repeatedly declined to specify the content of the “descriptive” complaints, referring to documents distributed by police after the press conference.

The documents say that undercover officers observed sex acts in the Eagle on occasions prior to the night of the raid. No one was arrested then, Pennington said, becauses the officers were collecting information for their investigation.

Pennington has already issued a conditional apology to the LGBT community, provided it is later determined that police officers overreacted.

While eight individuals were charged for providing adult entertainment without  a permit, no one was arrested on sex-related charges.

Yesterday hundreds rallied to protest the raid. Video below.

After moving to Atlanta in the early 90s, the Eagle was my very first gay bar. And it is one of the few that remain from that period… Backstreets, the Armory… all gone. I wish the Eagle all the best in this fight.

Post by ILO on 09/14/09 at 3:10 pm