Nearly three weeks after the controversial police raid on local gay bar the Eagle, a protest or two, a press conference, and calls for resignations and outrage throughout the gay and straight communities alike, the Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta community are going to church.
The forum came together as a result of a collaboration between openly gay mayoral candidate Kyle Keyser and LGBT community liaison Officer Dani Lee Harris, with help from Atlanta City Council Post 1 at-large candidate Adam Brackman. The forum, which is free and open to the public, starts at at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5, at Virginia-Highland Church. It's co-sponsored by grassroots group Atlantans Together Against Crime, of which Keyser is a founder.
A list of participants won't be released until Friday. But Keyser was able to confirm with CL that the forum will include Harris, Atlanta Police union head Sgt. Scott Kreher, Georgia Equality executive director Jeff Graham and Raymond Duke, president of African-American LGBT organization In The Life Atlanta.
"There's going to be a couple other openly gay people on the police force [included]," Keyser says. "They can not only talk about protocol but also their experience within the APD."
"It's really an opportunity for a community dialogue," Graham tells CL.
As for the chances of Police Chief Richard Pennington's attendance? "I'm reaching out to him for sure," Keyser says.
Text of ATAC's press release below:
Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC) and the Virginia Highland Church are co-sponsoring a community forum Monday, October 5, 2009 from 6:30 pm until 8:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. The forum will facilitate an open dialogue between concerned citizens, leaders within the LGBT community, and the Atlanta Police Department and will address concerns rising from the September 10, 2009 raid of The Eagle.
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.
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