Judge approves $1 million payout to gay bar patrons after police raid

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An Atlanta judge has approved a $1.025 million payout to patrons of a gay bar raided by police.

US District Judge Timothy Batten Sr signed the settlement order today after the city council agreed to pay the sum.

The Atlanta Eagle was raided in September 2009 and patrons said the dozens of officers subjected them to excessive force and homophobic abuse.

Police claimed that the bar was raided because of anonymous reports of drug use and and men having sex. However, no evidence for this was found.

Twenty-eight patrons filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Police Department last November seeking damages and alleging that some officers committed crimes of false imprisonment, assault, battery and trespassing.

It was pointed out today by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city could have saved the money – and the funds it spent defending the case – by accepting a settlement offer in February that had almost identical terms, but did not ask for $1,025 million.

On Wednesday, Mayor Kasim Reed made a statement apologising to each of the patrons in the lawsuit for their mistreatment at the hands of police.