Eagle raid documents ridiculously costly to read

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Do attorneys really wonder why people don’t like them? (Except you, Dan Grossman.) The disturbing $1.2 million bill from a private law firm to investigate the Eagle raid shows just how much they bilked the city — and thus, taxpayers — to produce a 343-page report.

Consider this:

For example, one attorney spent more than five hours reading Atlanta Citizen Review Board letters, lawsuit documents and news clippings at a cost of $1,071. That same attorney spent 4.8 hours reviewing the APD’s policies and billed the city $1,008.

Here’s how that math works out: $208 per hour to read stuff.

Now, attorneys and the city will say that the report from Greenberg Traurig helped lay out needed reforms for Atlanta police and detailed exactly who lied about what during the raid and the ensuing shirtstorm. Trouble with that argument is that the ACRB already mapped that out but the city opted to ignore its efforts. Atlanta police had a report, too.

Chalk it up to the ridiculousness of the raid that keeps trickling out since police stormed the bar in September 2009. Let’s relive some of the most ridiculous nuggets that have come to light:

Those risky leather daddies and bears. Sgt. John Brock, when asked why he ordered patrons to lay face down on the bar floor, offered this: “There’s a risk factor involved when you’re dealing with people you don’t know anything about. S&M, that – that has a stigma of some sort of violence.” Oh, and this: “In the past I have as a patrol officer handled calls where there are gay couples living in residence where one is mad at the other, and they slash clothes, furniture, anything they can do. They’re very violent.”

Bootylicious sex. Officer Jeremy Edwards offered this insight: “Seeing another man have sex with another man in the ass, I would classify that as very violent.”

The thin blue wall. Even in a controversial raid, police officers support one another. Among the nearly 60 patrons inside the Eagle during the raid was an off-duty police officer from Tennessee. When Atlanta police confirmed his identity, he was released while others were forced to lay face down on the bar’s floor.

Injuries during the raid. Mark Danak suffered cuts and was bloodied when he was forced to lay on the floor that included glass from a beer bottle broken during the raid. A second person also was forced to lay in broken glass, but did not report any injuries. Doorman Earnest Buehl suffered an apparent anxiety attack during the raid and was treated at the scene by paramedics. Once booked into the city jail, he was taken to the hospital and remained there for three days.

The case of the missing cash box. Buehl said he stocked the cash box he used as doorman with at least $400 on the night of the raid. He tried to keep track of it when handcuffed and arrested, but officers ignored his pleas. The box, and its contents after an evening of $5 cover charges, has not been recovered since the raid.

My best cop friend is gay. Officers who took part in the raid all denied making the anti-gay slurs that patrons and employees detailed in 14 complaints to the police department’s internal affairs unit and a dozen complaints to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board. Their defense? Officer Stephanie Upton, a lesbian who no longer works for Atlanta police but took part in the raid.

Book ’em. The Eagle 8 arrested during the raid were held in the city jail for nearly 16 hours. Police issued them tickets for city ordinance violations and did not include a bond amount because the “offenses cited do not commonly result in arrest.”

Drinks for everyone. Media reports have detailed the use of city funds by police investigators to buy drinks in the investigation leading up to the raid and in the hours before officers stormed the bar. Greenberg Traurig says at least $170 was spent on drinks, cover charges and tips – including $110 on the night of the raid – but no shots were consumed. Inv. Bennie Bridges says he bought drinks for two patrons, along with a cap in Rawhide Leather, the store in the Eagle building. (Bridges was later arrested for DUI in a city-owned car.)

Hurry up and wait. Officers secured the Eagle in two minutes when they raided it. But patrons were forced to lay face down on the floor for 45 minutes before they were released.

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