Lawyer: Clayton sheriff hired a ‘predator'

A former Atlanta police officer, fired after the department's botched 2009 raid of the Eagle and recently hired as a Clayton County Sheriff's deputy, is a "predator" who should have never been allowed back in law enforcement, according to an attorney who has filed suits against him alleging illegal strip searches of his clients.

Cayenne Mayes had a history of "ridiculously aggressive behavior" while serving with the APD's disbanded Red Dog unit, lawyer Mark Bullman said.

"Mayes is absolutely a bad apple," Bullman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That's the best thing I can say about him."

Another former APD officer involved in the ill-fated Eagle bust, Willie Adams, was also recently hired by Clayton Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, though Bullman said the ex-sergeant "didn't belong in the same conversation as Mayes."

Both men were fired in 2011 for violating APD's truthfulness policy after it was alleged they lied about their role in the Sept. 10, 2009 raid when police officers forced 62 bar patrons and employees to lie on the floor for an hour while they were searched.

The three lawsuits that followed the raid cost the city more than $1.5 million.

Kimbrough has yet to respond to a request for comment from the AJC but told Channel 2 Action News on Thursday he felt it was "a worthwhile endeavor to invest in having these officers come to work for us."

"The upside is that the citizens of Clayton County get some of the finest-trained, most experienced officers," Kimbrough said.

Bullman said he was "stunned" when he learned Kimbrough had deputized Mayes.

"The complaints against him go way back," Bullman said. "It's part of his record, so there's no way this should come as a surprise."

Mayes is a defendant in at least one still-unresolved lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in February. The suit cites three incidents involving Mayes in which the Red Dog unit officer is alleged to have been involved in invasive and illegal strip searches.

Efforts were being made by the AJC to reach Kliff Grimes of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, who is acting as a spokesman and advocate for the former APD officers.

Grimes told Channel 2 Thursday that Mayes was a casualty of politics and didn't deserve to lose his badge. "[The Red Dog] unit got a lot of complaints, but he only did his job," Grimes said.

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