Police Deny Targeting Gays in Violent Fort Worth, TX Bar Raid
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead tells the Star-Telegram that police officers did not target the Rainbow Lounge, a gay nightclub, because of the sexuality of its customers or the date (the 40th anniversary of Stonewall), calling it a "routine bar inspection."
Seven were arrested for public intoxication and one person remains hospitalized for a head injury which may yet require surgery.
The paper reports: "Some customers made 'sexually explicit motions,' according to a police statement, and one grabbed an officer’s crotch. A police spokesman later identified that person as Gibson. 'My brother would not do that,' [Kristy] Morgan said. Gibson, a high-tech worker who is about 5-feet-8 and weighs about 150 pounds, was at the club with friends, including a designated driver, she said. 'He’s not a big drinker, a big partyer,' she said. The police statement said one patron was so drunk he was vomiting. Morgan said her brother threw up because of his head injury. She also questioned police efforts to summon medical help. The time on Gibson’s ticket for public intoxication is 2:10 a.m. An ambulance wasn’t called until 2:25 a.m. Club Manager Randy Norman said Gibson didn’t seem drunk and was walking from the men’s room, holding a bottle of water, when an officer pushed him against a wall and then pushed him to the ground. Some patrons said they heard Gibson ask the officer a question, but that he didn’t fight back. At least three officers were involved in handcuffing him."
A columnist at the Dallas Morning News is demanding answers. As are local politicians: "Council members Joel Burns and Kathleen Hicks are requesting the probe into Sunday's raid at the Rainbow Lounge, where about a half dozen people were arrested. Hicks says she's disturbed by the raid that sent at least one person to the hospital."
Fort Worth police statement identifying involved officers, and local news report,
AFTER THE JUMP...
FORT WORTH POLICE STATEMENT
On Sunday morning, June 28, 2009, at 12:30 a.m., six (6) Fort Worth Police Officers, two (2) TABC agents and a Fort Worth supervisor conducted inspections at 160 W Rosedale (Rosedale Saloon and Cowboy Palace). This inspection resulted in nine (9) arrests. Once the inspection was completed at these locations, officers proceeded to the Rainbow Lounge.
Officers arrived at the Rainbow Lounge to conduct the scheduled inspection. The Fort Worth Police Officers who participated in this bar check included the following: Officer K. Gober, #3656, Officer J. Ricks, #3484, Officer M. Marquez, #3655, Officer J. Jenson, #3731, Officer J. Back, #3863, Officer J. Moss, #3722 and Sergeant Morris.
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead would like to emphasize that any and all allegations of misconduct against any Fort Worth Police Officer will be investigated thoroughly. Any person present during the bar check conducted at the Rainbow Lounge that observed any misconduct of a Fort Worth Police Officer is encouraged to contact the Internal Affairs Division at 817-392-4270 in order to set up an interview.