|APD Unit Investigated Over Public Strip Search Claims
WSBTV | January 28, 2011
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Police Department has confirmed that it is conducting an internal investigation into inappropriate conduct accusations involving some members of the department’s Red Dog unit.
The three officers involved have been placed on administrative duty pending disciplinary decisions.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Eric Philips began piecing together the story after two men came forward and complained about possible officer misconduct during a June traffic stop on Fulton Street.
One of the men, who was driving, said members of the Red Dog unit pulled over his vehicle and forced him to pull down his pants on the side of the road in broad daylight, as officers conducted a search for drugs. No drugs were ever found, driver Brian Kidd said.
Kidd told Philips that his roommate, Shawn Venegas, was also subjected to a body cavity search that left him feeling uncomfortable.
“They went to his bottom part. That’s as low as you can go. I don’t think anybody should be subjected to that kind of search,” Kidd said. “I had to look away because I couldn’t watch my friend be done like that.”
Venegas said he was so traumatized by the incident that he moved to another state.
"I feel molested, and I feel like I was raped," Venegas told Philips over the phone.
Two of the three officers involved in the stop were also named in the infamous Atlanta Eagle bar raid that the city recently settled. Co-counsel on the traffic stop case, Dan Grossman, was the lead attorney in the Atlanta Eagle case.
“I’ve heard many stories from citizens who were stripped in public by Red Dog,” Grossman said.