UPDATED | 2:12 p.m.
A grassroots anti-crime group is partnering with a gay-friendly church to host a public forum Monday about the Atlanta Police Department’s Sept. 10 raid at the Eagle.
The community forum — sponsored by Atlantans Together Against Crime and Virginia Highland Church — will also include representatives from the police department, organizers said Wednesday in announcing the event.
“I know The Eagle raid is a sensitive topic for many in the gay community, including myself,” says Kyle Keyser (photo), the founder of ATAC. “I want answers like many others. I’m hoping this is an opportunity to not only get some clarity on APD procedures and protocols but also one where, as a community, we rise to the occasion. It’s my hope that the forum can begin some healing as we try to understand and, ultimately, work toward a better, symbiotic relationship between the LGBT community and the APD.”
Keyser, the only gay candidate for Atlanta mayor, was one of the first public figures to speak out about the raid.
The raid resulted in eight arrests, two protests (top photo), calls from elected officials and political candidates for an investigation into police tactics and a public flap over grand marshals for the upcoming Pride parade.
The 90-minute event on Monday does have its limits, organizers say.
The forum aims to be a positive, productive, and pro-active meeting meant to foster dialogue, answer questions, and move relationships forward. Specific questions concerning The Eagle raid cannot be answered due to the outstanding investigation; however, questions of protocol, procedure, and others will be welcomed.
The forum will be the first public event in which LGBT leaders, citizens and police will come together to discuss the raid. Officer Dani Lee Harris, the police department’s LGBT liaison, spoke during a Sept. 19 rally over the raid at City Hall and those angry over the raid spoke out during a Sept. 15 meeting of the Atlanta City Council’s Public Safety Meeting.
The announcement of the Oct. 5 forum did not include a list of participants, though organizers say they will release that information by Friday.
The event, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., is set for Virgina HIghland Church, 743 Virginia Ave. The forum is free and open to the public.