Cops, jager shots & other Eagle embarrassments

Add this share


Mayor Kasim Reed spent the weekend on national TV talking up Atlanta, but you can bet he wasn’t bragging about his faltering criminal justice system and the continuing fallout and embarrassment from the botched police raid of the Eagle. Jager shots, anyone?

There’s the out-of-work former prosecutor of the Eagle 8, the Jagermeister-downing undercover cops, the others that lied to the FBI, the Eagle lead investigator arrested for DUI, the now-defunct Red Dog Unit, and that expensive bar tab incurred on the night of the Eagle raid in September 2009.

It’s no wonder Reed escaped the city for Washington, D.C. and an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Here’s a roundup of the latest shenanigans featuring Atlanta police and prosecutors:

Shots, anyone? Project Q reported shortly after the raid that the undercover cops inside the Eagle spent at least $210 in city funds at the bar, including $150 on Sept. 10 – the night of the raid. Those reports from Atlanta police didn’t detail how the money was spent.

But the AJC reported Tuesday that two undercover officers in the raid – Bennie Bridges and Jared Watkins – downed shot after shot of Jagermeister as other officers prepared to raid the Eagle later that night.


Three undercover officers were already in the Atlanta Eagle bar before the Sept. 10, 2009, raid started. At least two of them were drinking heavily, according to the bartender and the receipts they filed for the costs of their drinks.

According to information gathered in the now-settled lawsuit, officer Bennie Bridges spent $60 of APD funds on May 21, 2009, and another $50 the night of the raid on Sept. 10, 2009. A second officer working undercover that evening, Jared Watkins, claimed $60 for drinks the night of the raid. The third officer inside the Eagle bar before the raid claimed he spent $10.

According to records for those who were in the bar undercover on May 21, 2009, five officers, one of them a woman, each claimed they spent $5. Three others reported spending $10, $20 and $29. That was the night Bridges, the lead investigator, spent $60, according to information gathered to settle a federal lawsuit for $1.025 million and legal costs.

Bridges (second photo), whose messy testimony during the Eagle 8 trial last March contributed to its embarrassing end, was recently busted for DUI and placed on administrative leave.

imagePay those dues. Larry Gardner (third photo), a prosecutor for the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office, was suspended and recently fired for not paying his State Bar of Georgia dues, according to the GA Voice. Gardner prosecuted the Eagle 8 case.

Cops, lawsuits and videotape. Atlanta police recently spent $40,000 to end a complaint over its seizure of a cellphone from a member of a citizen watchdog group that was videotaping officers during an arrest in Little Five Points. You might recall from the $1.025 million settlement in the Eagle case that videotaping of police officers is legal, even though Atlanta police struggle with that protected behavior.

As part of this new settlement, APD will adopt an operating procedure that prohibits officers from interfering with citizens who are taping police activity. One of the attorneys in that case? Yes, Dan Grossman. He was the lead attorney for plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit over the Eagle raid.

We’re watching you. It’s a good thing Atlanta police are clarifying their approach to video. By mid-summer, they will be working out of a more than $3 million center with feed from more than 500 cameras from across the city watching most everything you do in Midtown, Piedmont Park and scores of other public places.

Don’t lie to the FBI. Two former Atlanta police officers have been indicted on charges of lying to FBI agents in a case concerning their jobs at a night club. This flap isn’t related to the Eagle, but is one more bit of bad PR for the agency and City Hall.


Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...