The Atlanta Police Dept. is wrapping up an investigation into shocking allegations of an inappropriate search two men say they endured at the hands of the APD’s Red Dog unit. Chief George Turner has indicated he intends to quickly discipline the officers involved and that may mean firing them.
According to statements provided to the APD’s internal affairs unit, Brian Kidd and Shawn Venegas, who are roommates and co-workers, both about 30 years old, say that three officers with Red Dog stopped them last June for allegedly running a stop sign and then searched them, pulling down their pants, touching their genitals and anal area.
The stop took place on Fulton Street near Windsor Street in daylight during the early evening hours. Kidd and Venegas had picked up a pizza and were on their way over to Kidd’s girlfriend’s house where Venegas planned to work on school assignments, when they noticed a police car following them for several blocks.
The men say they stopped at a stop sign at Fulton and Whitehall Road, but the police ticketed them for failure to stop at Fulton and Windsor–which has no stop sign. However, before citing them, the police searched them, apparently for drugs.
“[The officer] reached into my underwear and felt inside my pants,” Venegas said in his statement. “Next, he grabbed the back of my pants and pulled them and my boxer shorts down, in the middle of the street in downtown Atlanta.Then he spread my butt cheeks apart, and I guess he looked in my butt. He found nothing, and then he humiliated me even more by telling me to pull my own butt cheeks apart, so he could look even better, into my butt. I was so scared and upset. Again, they found no drugs.”
Venegas said he did not give the officers permission to search his car, but they did so anyway. They found nothing.
The APD released the following statement this evening:
“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. 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.” SR