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6 Atlanta Officers Involved in Gay Bar Raid Fired

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ATLANTA – Six Atlanta police officers have been fired- and others face disciplinary action- after an investigation found they lied about what happened during a raid on an Atlanta gay bar.

A team of lawyers conducted an investigation into the incident and released a report last month saying that at least 10 officers lied and many deleted data from cell phones to hide their actions during the September 2009 raid.

Six officers were dismissed Friday “for violating the department’s truthfulness policy,” police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement. Two other officers accused of lying had already been dismissed as a result of an unrelated internal investigation, Campos said, and Chief George Turner ordered that the charges against two others be withdrawn because there wasn’t enough evidence they lied.

Nine other officers were disciplined- with punishment ranging from a written reprimand to 20 days suspension- as a result of the raid on the Atlanta Eagle bar, Campos said. Three more have disciplinary hearings set for the coming week.

Major Debra Williams, who oversaw one of the units that raided the bar, was demoted to lieutenant and retired from the department on Wednesday.

The review of the incident by former U.S. Attorney Joe Whitley and attorneys from the law firm Greenberg Traurig also found police officials gave misleading information when they answered reporters’ questions about the raid.

Patrons and employees said they had to lie on the floor while officers checked for criminal histories and peppered them with slurs. Eight people were arrested, but charges were either dropped or dismissed.

A lawsuit led to a $1 million settlement in the case.

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