Atlanta Police Failed To Follow Reforms After Eagle Raid

On Sept. 10, 2009, Atlanta police stormed the Atlanta Eagle without a warrant. Two years later, the city settled a federal lawsuit related to the raid, promising to change how it trains police officers. On Tuesday, a city official admitted APD hadn’t fully implemented several of those requirements.


For the second time in less than a week, an attorney for the City of Atlanta admitted to a federal judge the Atlanta Police Department hasn’t fully followed the court’s order.

The case goes back to the botched 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a Midtown gay bar. In 2011, the city agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit for $1 million. But in addition to the money, the court also required the Atlanta Police Department implement a host of reforms – everything from retraining officers on lawful search and seizure procedures to the use of nametags.

Atlanta Police Maj. Jeff Glazier talks to reporters outside of the Russell Federal Courthouse Tuesday. Glazier, who was in charge of an initial round of officer training related to the Eagle raid, says follow-up measures will begin “immediately.” (JIM BURRESS/WABE)

But in federal court Tuesday, Deputy City Attorney Robert Godfrey admitted the APD had been lax – which deviated from the city’s earlier promise to fight the charges. Godfrey assured Judge Timothy Batten the city would now comply fully with the order.

“The purpose of today’s hearing wasn’t to punish the city,” said Dan Grossman, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the Eagle case. Instead, the purpose “was to get them to comply with an order that helps everyone in Atlanta.” 

Judge Batten gave the city 90 days to retrain the department’s 2,000 officers. Atlanta Police Major Jeff Glazier said that retraining will start immediately. 

“We like to train, but we don’t like to pull that many officers off the street at one time,” Glazier said. “So we’ll have to figure the logistics of it.”

Maj. Glazier said the retraining will happen at the Atlanta Police Academy, and could happen in 24-hour shifts because of the short window of compliance.