Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Atlanta's police chief tries to excuse illegal searches.

Earlier this week we reported on the police invasion of a gay bar. One problem, in reporting the case, was that the police couldn't seem to settle on a story as to what happened. Now they have And it's full of holes.

Police Chief Richard Pennington has done what all police chiefs do when their officers do something wrong. Defend them, pretend it was all fine, and hope it will go away. Obviously the next tactic is to "investigate" the officers before exonerating them.

According to Pennington police officers claimed to have witnessed illegal activity. The "illegal activity" they claim was to have seen patron's having sex with one another. The real problem is that NO ONE was charged with anything like that. Surely if undercover police officers witnessed such an incident, right before their eyes, they could conduct an arrest. But they didn't. Not a single patron was charged with any such thing.

Instead what the police did was send in nine undercover cops who were later joined by a dozen more uniformed officers along with a dog unit. The police showed up with three jail vans, clearly anticipating arrests of lots of people. The police allgeded that their investigation began because of claims that drugs were being dealt in the bar. Again, NO ONE was arrested on drug charges either.

When the police arrived, without any warrant, they forced all 62 patrons in the bar to lie on the floor while police illegally, and without permission, searched through each person's pockets looking for the drugs that they claimed were there. NONE were found. Then the identity of each person was recorded, even though they were not charged with anything or had been suspected of a crime, before they were released. People were detained for several hours though they had done nothing wrong.

The only charge the police could find was to claim that men dancing in underwear qualified as a "adult entertainment" which requires a license. What bullshit! A lawyer says that patrons "were not free to go. There was no suspicion any of them had committed a crime. This is unbelievable." So far ten of the people detained illegally have filed complaints against the police department.