In a near mirror of the language used yesterday by her mayoral race opponent Kasim Reed, Borders is now also asking for a “thorough, transparent investigation.”
On Friday, Borders and gay mayoral candidate Kyle Keyser were the first to release statements about the incident, but stopped short of calling for any specific action. Reed and gay candidate for City Council District 6, Alex Wan, both called for an investigation in their press statements on Saturday.
In the latest statement from her camp on Sunday, Borders takes it a step further. She says a probe could begin when patrons who were at the bar on the night of the raid come forward with specific allegations against police and file charges:
Acknowledging the ongoing investigation into the undercover raid that took place Thursday, September 10 at the Atlanta Eagle Bar, Mayoral candidate Lisa Borders is calling on the Atlanta Police Department to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident.
“While no official complaints have been filed, allegations have been made regarding police misconduct during the arrest at the Atlanta Eagle bar. It is important not to jump to conclusions, but it is as important to pursue equal justice for all citizens,” Borders said. “I call upon any person present the night of the arrests to step forward and file a formal complaint, to begin the process of investigation.” Borders said a recent and similar incident in Ft. Worth, Texas has increased equal rights concerns within the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered communities. She said an investigation would reveal any inappropriate conduct and determine if any police officers involved in the incident used defamatory statements or tactics during the arrest.
Borders said a balance between the interests of individuals to be free from persecution and the ability of the police force to effectively combat potential criminal activity must be achieved.
“Atlanta’s police officers work hard every single day, placing themselves between the bad guys and the rest of us. In speaking with officers, they have made it clear to me they would also want to know if proper protocols were followed,” said Borders.
“Under my tenure as mayor, we will have clear procedures to guarantee that no civil rights will be violated.” Borders, who called for the ouster of Chief Richard Pennington in 2007, has said the next chief to head the Atlanta Police Department will be more accountable and visible to the rank and file and the public. She also believes the department should make better use of specialty officers charged with working with constituency communities, such as the LGBT liaison officer.
“You must empower people to do their jobs and that empowerment comes from good leadership,” Borders said.
Borders said if an investigation proves there was inappropriate conduct during the arrest process, she would call for the guilty parties to be punished immediately.
City Council member Mary Norwood, who is also seeking the mayor’s office, issued a statement late Friday questioning whether crimes were being committed at the Eagle, if the raid was the most efficient use of police resources and whether patrons were treated fairly.
Also Friday, gay mayoral candidate Keyser issued a statement saying he shares “in my community’s concern” over the raid.
The Atlanta Police Department also issued a statement Friday saying officers observed “criminal behavior” inside the bar before the raid.
Other candidates are in on the controversy as well. Two more Atlanta City Council candidates, Miguel Gallegos and Shelitha Robertson, intervened, contacting a judge who then set bail for Eagle employees still jailed on Friday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.