Former Eagle raid officer says Atlanta police had arrest quotas
by Dyana Bagby
An Atlanta Police Department officer who was fired after a city investigation into the unconstitutional raid of the Midtown gay bar Atlanta Eagle has said in court documents that officers were required to meet arrest quotas, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Cayenne Mayes, who was fired from the APD for lying during the investigation of the 2009 Eagle raid, was also part of another lawsuit filed by young men who said they were illegally strip searched by Mayes and other APD officers who were part of the now disbanded Red Dog Unit.
Mayes stated in an affadavit for a lawsuit filed last year by Ricky Sampson alleging he was also illegally strip searched, that “incentives” were given to Red Dog officers to exceed quotas. These incentives included free pizza at the end of a shift and the opportunity to go home early. Sometimes, if the officers exceeded the quota, they could also watch a DVD at Red Dog headquarters, according to Mayes.
From the AJC story:
The department has long denied having arrest quotas, though it has said officers are expected to meet “performance goals.” Still, critics have blamed quotas for playing a role in the 2006 death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, shot dead in her living room during a botched drug raid, as well as in other cases that spawned lawsuits.
Last week, two former officers being sued over a public strip search filed affidavits in which they said pulling down the pants of men in hopes of finding drugs was necessary to meet their quota of daily arrests.
They said they were reminded before each shift that they had arrest quotas even though federal courts have said officers must have an “articuable” reason or “probable cause” for any kind of search and that public strip searches are unconstitutional.
“My supervisors and commanding officers encouraged these searches in more than one way,” Mayes said in his affidavit. “They told us to ‘always check the underwear,’ … making very clear that Red Dog teams had to meet arrest quotas.”
The APD denies claims made in the lawsuits as well as the officers’ affidavits about arrest quotas, according to the AJC.
Mayes was fired by the APD in 2011 for saying he did not pat down or frisk patrons of the Atlanta Eagle when it was raided when it was proven he did illegally search bar patrons. Mayes attempted to get his job back and appealed his firing to the Atlanta Civil Service Review Board.
At his hearing before the board, Mayes’ attorney invoked Martin Luther King Jr. in asking for her client to be hired back on to the force.
“I can guarantee you the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in their quest for civil rights invoke the name of Dr. King. One of my favorite books is ‘Stride Toward Freedom,'” she said holding up the book written by King. And in this book, King outlines the principals of nonviolence, Huber said.
“One of the characteristics of nonviolence is you direct your attack against the forces of evil rather than against the persons who happen to be doing evil,” Huber quoted from the book.
Mayes now works for the Clayton Sheriff’s Department.