The Atlanta Police Department, under fire from some LGBT activists since the raid of the Eagle last year, is facing renewed criticism for the refusal of more than two-dozen officers to answer questions about the raid.
The Citizen Review Board, frustrated over the lack of cooperation from the police department as the panel investigates the Sept. 10 raid, publicly aired its grievances on Friday. The board is now threatening to subpoena at least 10 officers as it investigates a complaint filed by Eagle patrons after the raid.
“We have been dealing with this issue of officers’ refusal to cooperate for a long time,” attorney Seth Kirschenbaum, vice chairman of the review board, told the AJC Friday. “While Pennington was chief, officers were refusing to cooperate and no discipline was ever imposed.”
Altogether 25 APD officers involved in the Eagle raid have refused to answer queries posed by the board, created following the 2006 death of 92-year-old grandmother Kathryn Johnston, shot and killed by undercover officers in her Neal Street home.
The board hasn’t yet pushed the issue with Mayor Kasim Reed and interim Police Chief George Turner since they took office in early January. But that could change.
The board is not pressing the issue yet, as it wanted to give new Mayor Kasim Reed and interim Police Chief George Turner time to comply. It hopes to have an answer within the next few weeks.
“We’re not giving an ultimatum but we are communicating with the new administration to get them to address this question about officer cooperation,” Kirschenbaum said.
Maj. Moses Perdue, newly appointed head of the APD’s office of professional standards , said the department was still coordinating its response with the mayor’s office.
“They haven’t made that decision if they are going to follow the law or violate the law,” Kirschenbaum said. “That lack of cooperation is supported by [APD] management.”
The Sept. 10 raid ignited a firestorm of controversy over police tactics and prompted several elected officials and political candidates to call for an investigation. It resulted in a public forum with top commanders of the police department, who defended the raid, and three protests. The action also prompted a federal lawsuit, which was filed in late November.