Crime | Dallas | Fort Worth | Gay Bar | News | Stonewall

Gays in Texas Arrested for Public Intoxication in Stonewall-Style Raid



Saturday night, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in NYC, police reportedly entered Fort Worth's Rainbow Lounge gay bar and began arresting people with unnecessary force for public intoxication. Multiple first-hand accounts suggest that the arrests were random and unwarranted.

Fortworthprotest In all, seven were arrested and one remains hospitalized with a brain injury that occurred during the incident: "About 18 hours after officers with the Fort Worth Police Department and agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission raided a Fort Worth gay bar, about 150 to 200 people gathered on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown Fort Worth Sunday night, June 28, to protest the raid."

Video of protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

The individual with the brain injury has been identified as Chad Gibson, the Dallas Voice reports: "The statement said that while some officers were outside dealing with the vomiting suspect, another officer inside requested assistance in handling an intoxicated patron who was resisting arrest, and that this person was 'placed on the ground to control and apprehend him.' This person was apparently Chad Gibson (pictured above??), who was knocked unconscious and is now hospitalized with a brain injury. Eyewitnesses to that incident said Gibson, who is 'maybe 160 pounds soaking wet,' did not resist arrest but that he did stumble after the first officer grabbed his arm. Rainbow Lounge owner J.R. Schrock said claims that patrons made sexual advances to the officers and that one patron groped an officer were lies.

The Houston Chronicle, the Star-Telegram, and Dallas Morning News have all filed reports.

Police Todd Camp, a former critic for the Star-Telegram, gave a first-hand account to the Dallas Voice: "From what he said, it appears police were there arresting people who appeared to have had too much to drink. Todd said that although he saw no one resisting the police, the officers were quite rough in the way they handled people, and that he saw several people shoved rather violently to the ground and handcuffed (with the plastic zip-tie handcuffs)."

The Dallas Observer writes: "This morning, Michael Piazza, dean of Dallas's Cathedral of Hope, released a statement condemning the event, which has led to two protests planned for tonight -- one at 5 p.m. in front of the bar, and another at 7 p.m. in front of the Tarrant County Courthouse. Said Piazza, "After more than a generation of progress, this action shows that there is still much work to be done to ensure that all Americans enjoy 'equal protection under the law.' It is tragic that lesbian and gay taxpayers are still abused by the very people who are paid by our taxes."

Daily Kos notes, there's now a Facebook page: Rainbow Lounge Raid.

Video of protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I'm going to have to agree with RonTex. Born and raised in Texas, I can honestly say it isn't any different than any other state. Austin is a very progressive city and a fabulous place to live. Houston and Dallas both have HUGE and well integrated gay populations. Forth-Worth is actually a great city, albeit more conservative than Dallas. Your biggest issues are when you head out to east and west Texas, areas I highly recommend you avoid. I've lived in Atlanta for the past nine years and while I love it here, Houston and Dallas are more gay friendly. That's a fact. Living in Texas for 8 months doesn't really tell the whole story and I'd be hesitant to talk about anyplace with little or no facts to back it up.

    Posted by: Keith | Jun 29, 2009 8:09:30 AM

  2. hmm-mm. i live in Houston...and the only violence that i am aware is the trampling of a a horse with the Houston Mounted Police. The mounted patrol was walking along side the parade route to keep the public behind the 'fencing'. Read about it in this from the Houston Chronicle.:
    what i find odd (is that the right word?) is the lack of news coverage for the parade itself.
    Virtually ‘zilch’ was written or photographed about the Houston Pride Parade. (very minimal coverage) Why? There were literally 10’s of thousands of gay and straight bystanders/
    participants including the mayor, various councilmen, current comptroller, Anise Parker—an out Lesbian—who by the way is running for Houston’s mayor..…none of this was mentioned….
    fyi..i emailed the above article to Towleroad mid Sunday afternoon.
    Oops! forgot about this 1:13 video

    Posted by: tim | Jun 29, 2009 8:14:31 AM

  3. For what it's worth, I was in a Dallas Pizza restaurant Saturday night and when one of my friends ordered a glass of wine, the waitress was careful to check his ID even though he's over 40. She explained that TABC had been in the area lately making unannounced visits to restaurants, checking every detail down to giving breath tests to bartenders. This whole thing appears to be part of a major crackdown (on what?) or self-justification exercise, depending on your point of view.

    Posted by: Sam | Jun 29, 2009 8:24:26 AM

  4. Is it really going to take another stonewall, another time where gay rise up and act violently to get the point across that this is not acceptable?

    Posted by: kujhawker | Jun 29, 2009 9:00:50 AM

  5. Texas considers being drunk inside a bar, where the business is to sell alcohol, to be "public' intoxication and illegal? I'd like to know how many times and how often the Texas state police have raided other bars, and treated the patrons the same way.

    Posted by: Dastius | Jun 29, 2009 9:29:33 AM

  6. Is media coverage starting to pick up on this story? You would think that the comparison to Stonewall would make this story appealing. CNN and others have been talking about Stonewall a lot this weekend. I don't see it on yet. My next email is to CNN.

    Posted by: Chris G | Jun 29, 2009 9:33:33 AM

  7. I'm glad you left Jeff, we don't need you! How can any of you pretend to stand for equality but refuse to live or visit a place that needs us so desperately? Texas is a wonderful state, I've lived here most of my life. Austin and Dallas are extremely progressive (Austin is the only county in the state with a domestic partnership policy and Dallas has a Lesbian Sherrif and a gay Mayor) and every state in the country has issues with hate. Your generalizations and bashing are one of the reasons issues like this continue. You don't want to be generalized and stereotyped so please don't do it to others. I love Texas, I'll remain in Texas, and I'll fight for my equality and freedom because obviously you won't help. By the way, what utopia do you now live in Jeff?

    Posted by: Wayne | Jun 29, 2009 9:48:35 AM

  8. Welcome to Fascism in America

    Posted by: Willie | Jun 29, 2009 10:49:39 AM

  9. You have this listed under "Dallas" but obviously it was Fort Worth. They are separate cities, 30 miles apart with very separate identities.

    Posted by: sam | Jun 29, 2009 10:54:36 AM

  10. Dallas has one of the larger gay populations in the United States. Despite being smack dab in the middle of the bible belt, Dallas is fairly open regarding gay residents. In the last mayoral election, a viable gay candidate almost won. Likewise, the constable of Dallas county is a lesbian. Gay councilman have been elected for years. During gay pride the straight mayor and many councilman participate. Similarly open messages are present in Ft Worth. The gay scene in Dallas is vibrant and open. It's a 1000 times better than most other cities. Ft Worth is a smaller city, and a tad behind Dallas, but not by much.

    Posted by: Continuum | Jun 29, 2009 10:59:10 AM

  11. Does anyone have the home telephone number or private cell phone number for the Mayor of Fort Worth? If so, could they publish it?

    Posted by: chasmader | Jun 29, 2009 11:07:15 AM

  12. This is not to excuse or minimize in any way what the Fort Worth police did at this bar. However, about a year ago I read an article (I can't remember the publication) about police in Dallas posting undercover officers in downtown hotel bars and arresting guests for having too much to drink. Those arrested were people staying in the hotel, who were not going to be driving anywhere--they were just having a few drinks before going to their rooms. The article was a warning to business travelers about the over-enforcement of the Texas "public drunkeness" law.

    So it's not just the gays who get targeted by crazy Texas cops.

    I'm originally from Texas myself. But I can't stand to set foot in the state.

    Posted by: NickC | Jun 29, 2009 11:22:43 AM


    CNN is covering the story on it's website.

    Posted by: Willie | Jun 29, 2009 11:33:05 AM

  14. it clearly says fort worth in the first sentence

    Posted by: anon | Jun 29, 2009 12:25:53 PM


    Posted by: LAVENDERMAN | Jun 29, 2009 12:51:54 PM

  16. statistically, more gay men die in Texas annually than in any other state in the nation... time for an FBI investigation of law enforcement.

    As to the raid, I suspect someone did not pay their protection money to the local police force ... could that have happened? Oh yeah I think so.. podunk police suck!

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Jun 29, 2009 1:33:38 PM

  17. Apparently texas has been arresting people in every kind of bar. This article from 2006 talks about 2200 people in texas bars being arrested for drunkenness.

    Still, keeping broad laws like this on the books ensures that they will be abused, and used to oppress the populace.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 29, 2009 2:27:47 PM

  18. it's of no surprise that the gay bashing and other events are becoming more and more frequent. Look at the last few months? California shot down their gay marriage initiative and all these other states are approving gay marriage, is it no surprise that states in the bible belt want to shut this behavior off. Now. You want change, real change? Be prepared to fight for it... I don't mean stand in front of a courthouse and chant, I mean a fight, a bareknuckled and bloody fight for your rights. And this goes for people of different races as well... This is not just about us gay folks out there. This is about everyone who is not white, or christian, or what passes for a 'normal' American. It's time to stop blogging, stop demonstrating, stop whining and start fighting back.
    demonstrations and blogs did not create America... revolutionaries with guns and ideals did. Where has that spirit gone? We have become a nation that is quietly become a police state... at every turn there are the police and they can bust your face just because they don't like the way you look. They are above the very law we entrusted them to uphold.
    Why isn't anyone as pissed off as I am?

    Posted by: Scott | Jun 29, 2009 3:21:39 PM

  19. The law was controversial, and seems to be a money raiser for local police, particularly after they stopped traffic cameras from handing out tickets.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 29, 2009 3:28:56 PM

  20. The TABC is pretty ruthless in TX. Several years ago, a female coworker of mine was arrested on the spot for failing to check the ID of an underage decoy buying a 6 pack of beer.

    If the Fort Worth police want to do something useful, why not bust all these drunk drivers out and about every day?

    It seems like every few weeks, a drunk rams his vehicle into a person helping a stranded driver and kills everyone at the scene. It's like there's some kind of roadside good samaratin magnetism that these drunk drivers around here have.

    And now that Arlington has the brand new stadium, the DUI's and manslaughter is going to rise in the DFW area big time.

    But harassing the gays is MUCH more important!

    Posted by: Scott | Jun 29, 2009 3:33:56 PM

  21. NickC, I don't think it's a question of whether Texas police are only targeting gays -- as you know TABC is notorious in the state for over-enforcing any alcohol-related laws. But at issue is the idea that the "raids" in the non-gay bars weren't raids, they were simple routine checks, and that those arrests weren't violent and didn't leave someone with brain injuries.

    It's hard to condemn without knowing more and being absolutely sure, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that a group of Texas police officers have a cavalier attitude towards the safety of a bunch of gays.

    Posted by: raf | Jun 29, 2009 3:56:54 PM

  22. I believe the Texas cops are practicing what's known as 'revenue enhancement'....that is, it brings in dollars.

    Well that's one weird ass law for sure, but some on here are giving Texas a bad rap; I've visited multiple time, been to Dallas and Houston for business and pleasure, and have close friends and family living there. It's ridiculous to paint with a broad brush, and many folks need to grow up.

    BTW: I witnessed recently a harsh gay bashing in of all places Cambridge/Boston, just blocks from Harvard. A local white kid and spanish kid jumped a obviously gay student, although I have to say it wasn't entirely a gay bashing because the gay kid was acting obnoxiously beforehand and was kinda asking for trouble. But if it happens in Cambridge, one of heartlands of 'progressive' America, you can get jumped anywhere.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Jun 29, 2009 5:43:25 PM

  23. I've lived in Fort Worth for a little over 10 years with my partner.

    The gay community here is very small and not well organized. Our poor pride parade usually only has about a 1/2 dozen floats and lasts about 45 minutes, so it's difficult for us to fight oppression when we are so small.

    I applaud those who wish to speak out loudly against this most greivious of happenings, but we need the support of our neighboors, friends, brothers and sisters to help fight.

    Gay bars in Fort Worth have never been very upscale because the (very) rich and (overly) conservative business associations refuse to let a gay bar/club operate anywhere near the precious Downtown area. We are relegated to the less affluent suburbs or the poorer parts of the city away from the tourists.

    I recall that the last time someone tried to open a gay-friendly or centric bar in the Downtown area as having been told not to advertise it as a gay bar or else they would not get their liquor license.

    The Good Ol' Boy system is alive and well in Fort Worth. Remember that when your kid wants to go to TCU.

    Posted by: Michael in Fort Worth | Jun 29, 2009 8:35:25 PM

  24. This not only pisses me off, it weirds me out. I've lived in Ft. Worth most of my life. I'm out, married to my husband, and I've never had any issue with anyone. The cops in Ft. Worth are notoriously nice...until this bullshit. Our first openly gay city councilman, Joel Burns, issued a pretty strong statement, and when he mentioned the state legislature, I assume he meant State Senator Wendy Davis, who is definitely on our side. I just hope they can bring the hammer down and remind people that we won't put up with this crap. I'm sick of Dallas queens saying stuff like "That's why we never go to Ft. Worth..." You don't get progress by ignoring a city that 20 minutes away but has no gay life to speak of. You make progress by helping to establish it there. Ok, rant over. Love your site, Andy! Thank you for covering this, it was the first I heard of it!

    Posted by: Nick | Jun 29, 2009 10:04:03 PM

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