An Atlanta City Council committee voted unanimously Monday to issue subpoenas to 18 police officers as part of an investigation into the raid of the Atlanta Eagle last September.
The action by the six-member Committee on Council seems to break an impasse that has stalled the investigation by the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which recently complained that the Atlanta Police Department was stonewalling its probe into the raid and other complaints of police misconduct.
Mayor Kasim Reed weighed in on the matter last month, expressing concern that officer testimony before the ACRB could imperil the City of Atlanta’s defense in a federal lawsuit filed in the wake of the Eagle raid.
But even with the subpoenas, it’s not clear that officers will actually testify before the board, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
“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.
“I’m disappointed that after six months we’re still here,” said Councilman Alex Wan, whose district includes the bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue. “I hope that at some point we’re going to get this resolved and closed out.”
Joy Morrissey, a lesbian who was recently named chair of the ACRB, and Wan could not immediately be reached Monday by Project Q Atlanta. Wan is the only openly gay member of the City Council. His District 6 includes the Eagle and he sits on the Committee on Council.