Tags: Law Enforcement | police misconduct | lawsuits | payout | Georgia

Largest Payouts for Police Misconduct Lawsuits in Georgia

By    |   Friday, 14 Aug 2015 11:14 PM

The arrest of a political activist, the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman and the raid of a gay bar are among the cases that have resulted in large payouts in police misconduct lawsuits in Georgia.

In 2014, Cobb County agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement after the arrest of political activist Amy Elizabeth Barnes in 2012 when she "f-bombed" the police there, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Officers also said she gave them her middle finger as she rode her bike past two officers who were standing outside a convenience store questioning a black man on Easter Sunday of that year.

“Ms. Barnes’ comments to the police may have been offensive, but no one in the United States of America should be chased down and arrested for their free speech,” her lawyer Cynthia Counts told the Journal-Constitution.

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Police charged Barnes with disorderly conduct, and jailed her for 23 hours. She was found innocent of criminal charges and filed a federal lawsuit that drew national attention, NPR noted.

"It's a shot across the bow," Barnes told NPR. "And it basically sent a message across this whole nation that free speech shall remain free or somebody's going to keep paying."

In 2010, Atlanta offered a $4.9 million settlement to the family of a 92-year-old woman who was shot and killed during an illegal raid of her home, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Acting on a tip from an informant who said he bought drugs from the home, officers kicked in the door to the elderly woman’s home. She fired a shot and was killed when police returned fire, the newspaper said, adding that officers planted drugs in the home.

In May, a federal judge found the Atlanta Police Department in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a settlement involving a 2009 raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, WABE reported.

The settlement, which included a $1.025 million payout to 28 men, called for the department to change its policies and retrain its officers following the 2009 raid, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said. At issue are “policies involving warrant-less searches when there is no probable cause, detaining people without ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ and demanding identification without reasonable suspicion the person is breaking the law,” the newspaper said.

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The arrest of a political activist, the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman and the raid of a gay bar are among the cases that have resulted in large payouts in police misconduct lawsuits in Georgia.
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2015-14-14
Friday, 14 Aug 2015 11:14 PM
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