Atlanta police erased data in gay bar raid, lawyers say

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ATLANTA  — Lawyers have accused Atlanta police of erasing e-mails, text messages and cell phone photos that could shed light on a police raid on a gay bar that triggered a lawsuit.

Lawyers for the Atlanta Eagle Bar and several patrons said in court filings that the evidence was deliberately destroyed. Attorneys said the cell phone data was erased just days after U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten ordered that the information be turned over.

City Attorney Cathy Hampton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city government takes the allegations seriously and will investigate.

A national gay rights group filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of 19 people who say they were illegally searched and detained during Sept. 10, 2009 raid.

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