Two Men Claim APD Red Dog Officers Groped, Cavity Searched Them during Traffic Stop (UPDATE 1)
UPDATE: StephanieRamage.com is reporting that according to sources, Chief Turner is considering renaming the Red Dog unit, an elite special-forces style unit, and roll it into the department’s new community policing division. She notes that in addition to the strong recent APD statement, the APD last week rescinded 19 planned transfers to the community policing division, “which would make room to move most of the Red Dog unit there.” In addition, “Phone numbers for command connected with Red Dog have been forwarded to main lines or are going straight to a generic voicemail.”
Channel 2 WSB-TV news first reported that two men–Brian Kidd and Shawn Venegas–had alleged that they were groped and cavity searched in June 2010 by officers of the Red Dog unit of the Atlanta Police Department. The extreme body searches allegedly took place in full view of the public.
They claimed the were pulled over by three officers, and one of the officers drew a gun on them, forcing them out of the car. They were strip searched. One of the officers allegedly performed a body cavity search on one of the victims.
The APD is investigating the allegations and has placed the officers on administrative duty.
Two of the officers were also involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid of September 2009, which was also a Red Dog operation.
WABE News has reported hearing that APD Chief Turner may disband the Red Dog unit, something Turner said was just a rumor.
Two attorneys, including Dan Grossman who worked on the Atlanta Eagle raid case, are assisting the two young men. They are currently holding off on filing a lawsuit.
The APD released the following statement: “The Atlanta Police Department is in the process of concluding the internal investigation into this matter. There is evidence to suggest that some of the officers’ actions during this traffic stop were inappropriate. As a result, Chief Turner intends to move swiftly to discipline some of the officers with actions — up to, and including, dismissal. All three officers involved have been placed on administrative duty in non-enforcement capacity pending disciplinary decisions. The Atlanta Police Department expects its officers to be truthful at all times, to follow all policies and procedures and to follow all of the local, state and federal laws they are sworn to uphold. Failure to do so will not be tolerated.”
Georgia Voice magazine obtained a copy of a complaint Kidd filed with the APD Office of Professional Standards.
“I saw Officer Meredith pulled Shawn’s pants forward and look into the front of his pants and underwear and then pull down his pants down from behind, but then I looked away because of what the officer was doing to Shawn,” Kidd said in the complaint.
“Later Shawn told me that Officer Meredith touched him in the genitals during the search and made him spread his butt cheeks apart. This really upset Shawn. Officer Britt made me pull my pants and my underwear out so he could look in them, and he did not find anything. They did not find anything on Shawn either,” Kidd continued.
Kidd reported that he was arrested for an outstanding bench warrant in DeKalb County, then searched again.
“Officer Britt told me that I was under arrest for the warrants and put handcuffs on me. While my hands were behind my back, he opened my belt and pants and reached inside my underwear and searched and touched my testicles and found nothing illegal. I was shocked that the officer would put his hands down into my pants and touch my testicles like this. After I was searched, the officer took me to the police car.”