Atlanta pat-down policies questioned in wake of lawsuits

Officers state techniques necessary for safety; critics claim too invasive

By Rhonda Cook
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — Atlanta taxpayers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits brought by men who said they were touched inappropriately by police officers searching them, and the city is on the verge of paying out more.

Late last year, the Atlanta Police Department spent almost $300,000 to settle two lawsuits with those allegations. And Monday, the Atlanta City Council agreed to pay $470,000 to settle a lawsuit by five men who said officers pulled down their pants and touched them inappropriately while looking for drugs that were not found.

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