Dallas Eagle Gay Bar Raided as Questions Linger in Fort Worth

A second Dallas-area gay bar, The Eagle, was raided on Friday night just two weeks after a raid at the nearby Rainbow Lounge left one patron with a head injury and many questions remaining:

Tabc Houston Chronicle: "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officials entered the Dallas
Eagle club around midnight Friday. The raid came a few weeks after the
raid of a Fort Worth club where witnesses claimed authorities were
overly aggressive. A guard at the Eagle says TABC officials
were questioning whether the address on the liquor license was changed
after the club reopened just yards from its previous location. Gay activist Rick Vanderslice says he is 'outraged' and wants to know what is prompting the raids."

The Rare Reporter has a thorough summary of reports on the incident and says that officers wore "ninja" masks.

The Chaser Blog has photos.

Rainbowlounge Meanwhile, questions linger from the Rainbow Lounge incident: "Was the club
singled out for inspection by Fort Worth police and Texas Alcoholic
Beverage Commission officers because it caters to gays?
Were the
officers fueled by homophobic hang-ups as they knocked drinks out of
people's hands, slamming one young man into a pool table and
gang-tackling 26-year-old Chad Gibson, the Euless computer technician
who wound up in the ICU with a blood clot in his brain? Or did the officers – confronted with a chaotic scene and an antagonistic crowd – use appropriate force to subdue unruly drunks?"

Comments

  1. badlydrawnbear says

    It would be nice if the press started pointing out the cost (in manpower, lost tax revenue, and lawsuits) that these raids incur for the city and the state and remind the police there is a recession going on and that these dollars are probably better spent on bigger issues then that the Dallas Eagle moved to the other side of the parking lot.

  2. Brian says

    These bars were NOT “Raided.” They were “inspected” in the normal course of business. This is an activist group Queer Liberaction engaged in “wishful thinking” in order to raise money.

    I’m a gay resident of Dallas. We are watching this closely and it is becoming very clear that GAYS WERE NOT TARGETED.

    There may have been one or two bad cops and they need to be disciplined, but there is no conspiracy here. Comparisons to Stonewall turn my stomach because Stonewall was REAL. This is spin.

  3. Dave says

    Excuse me? Under NO circumstances should government officials be coming in without verifiable ID. That means no masks.

    Doing a sting for serving drinks without proper ID is fine, but a sting for a liquor license is insane. The TABC *already knows* whether they have the license or not and should have come in during daylight hours to prevent the place from re-opening in the first place if there was actually a problem.

    This is gross impropriety on the part of the TABC and the gay community in Texas needs to be concerned. This means if you have a camera phone – be prepared to record video and snap photos of these raids, every step of the way. And send them into the MSM and blogs immediately.

  4. Dave says

    @Brian: No, it doesn’t appear that gay bars are being targeted, since yes, they do this stuff at “straight” establishments too, but waiting until midnight on a Friday night, a week after opening to challenge the license? (It was a very good time to sting for underage drinking though, unless the agent bypassed an ID-checking bouncer by citing his authority and then proceeded to request a drink)

    And even one official was wearing a mask to hide his face?

    This is an agency with rogue agents acting with impunity and/or oblivious or downright malicious senior leadership. Either way, this is unprofessional and unacceptable behavior for government agents.

  5. John says

    This is a substantive example of why we need Congress to pass sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive hate crimes legislation. It isn’t some abstract argument about libertarian versus socialist thought. It is a real, tangible exercise in law enforcement. When the local police are the enemy rather than the ones who “protect and serve,” the federal government needs to have the authority to intervene.

    And I’m not merely talking about the investigation of crimes committed by civilians. The FBI, for instance, has used the existing HC statute to investigate the police themselves when it comes to racially motivated assaults on African American suspects already in custody.

  6. Hawk says

    @brian – Raid is during business hours, inspection is during NON business hours.

    Regardless if this is a str8 or gay bar, under NO times are the TABC or cops to have masks on their faces. If a cop pulls you over for a speeding ticket and has a mask on, would it not through up a red flag???

    I agree that gay bars are not being targeted specifically for this. I DO agree that these types for RAIDS ARE targeted at gay bars more than str8 bars. Only way you can prove to me differently is show me the numbers and bars (with real proof to back it up) that this type of “ninja” raids happen at str8 bars. Show me proof that they went into a str8 bar and did the SAME thing to them (ninja masks and sneaking underage agent with them).

    I have seen the IL version (of the TABC) come in and chat with the manager and walk out WITHOUT having to have a mask on or ruffing up people. Most times it was during first hour or right before open, NOT hours after and in masks. Granted I understand the underage thing, and have seen it working in bars for over 10 years. But shortly after the Raid, means that one came in with the TABC and it would be entrapment, not a normal send in.

  7. Brian says

    I WISH IT WAS A RAID.
    I WISH IT WAS A RAID.
    I WISH IT WAS A RAID.

    – Dallas area Gay Activists.

    Many of us in the Gay community in Dallas are seeing through this self-serving exaggeration by little activists here in Dallas.

    Bar inspections are NOT OPPRESSION. Grow up, you’re making gays look cry-baby victims.

  8. Kugel says

    I think this is more an issue of a government agency out of control, period. Setting aside the gay issues, what social good is the TABC’s overzealous actions doing? In San Francisco, the ABC has been acting crazy and a number of long-established (so far, mostly non-gay) venues are being threatened by the application of out-dated and obscure laws.

  9. txbeardg says

    @Brian – I was there. I saw the Ninja masks. I saw TABC’s overzealous action with respect to shutting down the Dallas Eagle. Clearly you weren’t there and clearly you have an issue with “Dallas area Gay Activists”. Maybe you need to examine your own comfort level with your sexual preference. Your comments, at best, sound a bit self-loathing and off-base.

  10. says

    I’m sorry, but in this country, cops don’t get to wear masks.

    That happens in police states and tyrant dictatorships…. not America.

    I don’t give a shit whether or not this was fueled by homophobia. This is a complete and utter civil rights violation and nightmare scenario. Cops coming masked into bars? What’s next — people disappearing into the night?

    We need to stand with Dallas-area citizens, gay, straight or otherwise, and say NO!!!

  11. Sean says

    I’m not saying this is targeting gay bars, but WTF is the TABC doing spending money like this to kill alcohol tax revenue at a time when it is needed most? Not to mention the convention planners who are getting leery about booking in Dallas.

    I’m from Atlanta, where we are WELL AWARE the death of the 24/7 alcohol license killed a lot of convention business.

    And why wouldn’t the TABC have their own copy of the alcohol license with address clearly printed on file in their own office?

  12. jimmyboyo says

    Ryan makes a great point

    I’m not in Dallas and have no clue what is going on, BUT in america cops are not supposed to be wearing masks

    The only justifiable reason for a mask on an officer of the law is wearing a gas mask because of fear of some kind of terrorist chemical attack or something extreme like that

    Non gas mask masks smacks of secret police in a dictatorship during the middle of the night dragging people off to disappear them

  13. Brian says

    “Cops are not supposed to wear masks in America.”

    Oh, the motorcycle cops want to know if they can keep their helmets?

    THIS WAS NOT A RAID. IT IS NOT A STONEWALL. IT IS NOT GOING TO RAISE ANY CA$H FOR ACTIVISTS.

    Go back to work.

  14. Chance says

    Yes the cops had something to hide. Their IDENTITIES. These were undercover agents, meaning they go undercover to inspect other bars. Straight bars. If they become recognizable around town, they wouldn’t be very effective, now would they? It’s SOP to send in minors to see if they get past the doorman, and then see if they’re served. That’s how they know if bars are violating the law. Guess what? The Eagle was. And those complaining that TABC waited until midnight – they didn’t. They came early in the night to address the license issue. Once that was resolved, liquor sales continued. The bar wasn’t shut down until a minor was served alcohol. It’s pretty hard to accuse the TABC of overstepping their bounds, there.

    Furthermore, if you read those reports on the Voice, you’ll see that “the police were pretty well mannered.” http://www.dallasvoice.com/instant-tea/2009/07/11/from-hardy-haberman/

    So before we all go off again, the boys who cried “Stonewall!” let’s breathe and review:

    The Eagle, which had just moved to a larger location, didn’t have it’s liquor license in order. They hadn’t changed the address. So the TABC told them to get their shit together, and suspended liquor sales for the, what, half hour it took to do that?
    OUTRAGE!
    Then an Eagle bartender served an undercover minor? And the TABC had the audacity to close the bar? Just like they would with any other?
    GET OUT YOUR POSTER BOARD AND MARKERS, WE’RE MARCHING!
    Guys, look, to the majority of Americans still believe what their religions have told them – that gays are sinful, abnormal, and wrong. Shouldn’t we be focusing on that instead of routine bar checks? I don’t think that kids who struggle with coming out cry themselves to sleep because the TABC might close down a leather bar.

  15. Wayne says

    Only about 1% of the bars inspected in Dallas are gay bars, the rest are straight. This is being exaggerated beyone belief. And let me tell you something else; the Dallas Eagle should have been shut down YEARS ago! Public sex is rampant, used condoms on the floor, filthy conditions… it’s horrible! If this type of behavior was going on in a straight bar you would have seen it on the national news and the place would have been closed already. Please ignore Brian’s pleas for attention. This is not news.

  16. BrianBrian says

    PLEASE CHANGE YOUR IRRESPoNSIBLE HEADLINE – THE EAGLE WAS NOT RAIDED! What are you the Dallas Voice?

    The owner of the Eagle is visiting TABC today. I believe he is going to apologize for:

    1) not having and accurate liquor license displayed, and
    2) for one of his bartenders serving a MINOR.

    I don’t think he’s going to be protesting or marching around with colorful signs condemning the cops. No chance.

  17. richard s says

    This incident sounds very familiar, Stonewall anyone? The more things change the more they stay the same.The land of the free does not cotton to free speech or individual rights’
    all done in the name of security or public safety. :(
    and forget civil disobedience they will taze you ass and beat the shit out of you. I feel about as disgusted and disappointed as with the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. Bullshit and hypocrites.

  18. Sean says

    @Brian – you are a broken record man. Stop the skip repeat.

    That being said, I’m going to go on record with Stonewall being a new Godwin-ism. You can’t evoke it without serious scrutiny, nor should you.

  19. Marlin Bynum says

    The Queers of North Texas are not standing for this. I will let you know. We were at the Tarrant County Court House in Fort Worth then shut down main street in Fort Worth as we marched down the street. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfC2FImvsGk) At both places we posted our demands for the city of Fort Worth. (http://www.queerliberaction.org/) I personally don’t know if these two events are related, but I do know that they are very terrible events that scar the image of Texas.

    This was a seemingly attack on the new bar on its grand opening night. Like others, I wondered why if they had a problem with the license, why they didn’t get them in the couple of days they were open before this “big weekend night.” After they found that the licenses were in order, they allegedly sent in an undercover agent to buy alcohol. That means that there were two attempts in one night to shut down this bar. Whether it was a persecution or not, I don’t feel safe from what seems to be an over reach of police power.

    This along with the public intoxication law and its enforcement makes it unsafe for anyone to go into a bar (gay or straight) in Texas at this time.

    and wink wink brian and brianbrian — see you everywhere trying to speak out.

  20. says

    Brian, it’s funny for you to be telling people to calm down after posting the same pro-TABC propaganda about 20 times. Most people aren’t suggesting this was Stonewall. But particularly in light of what happened at the Rainbow Lounge, there is cause for concern. If there is a problem with licensing, it would be easy enough for the TABC to contact the owners and warn them to get their act together. But their masked invasion seems, at the very least, an over aggressive tactic, whether it was in a gay bar or a straight bar. If the TABC calmed down, they wouldn’t keep landing in the headlines.

  21. Brian says

    NO RAID. None. No Stonewall2009.

    Eagle Owners’ and TABC Statements:

    1) THE OWNERS OF THE EAGLE BAR

    The problems at the Dallas Eagle on Friday night, July 10, 2009, were predicated on misinformation, and/or lack thereof, we received from the agent we had hired to expedite our licensing process. Regardless, the permits were not in order; and we take full responsibility for this. We would like to apologize to or customers, our employees, and the community at large. We would also like to extend our sincere apologies to the employees at TABC and the Dallas Police Department for the adverse press they have had to endure for simply doing their duty. Neither of these agencies, in any way harassed or threatened us. Their behavior throughout was polite and organized. They were acting on a compliant, which by law, they are required to do. Sadly, we were informed these calls were placed by a competitor. The calls were placed through Austin (for TABC) and through the District Attorney’s office here (for DPD) indicating someone with well placed connections. Once again, this was a licensing error on our part, nothing more.

    On a broader note, it is enough that our community has to deal with discrimination on a daily basis without having to worry about elements within our own community. This, to our minds, is the real story here.
    We thank all of you for your love and support.
    We are open for business at the old location until ALL appropriate documentation is in hand.

    2) TABC OFFICIAL STATEMENT

    On July 10, 2009, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) licensing division in Austin Headquarters received an anonymous complaint that Dallas Eagle (Permit #MB254723) had changed locations without transferring their permit. The Dallas Eagle permit is issued for 2515 Inwood Road, Dallas, Texas. The complaint alleged that they were having a “grand opening” at 5740 Maple in Dallas.

    TABC licenses and permits are specific to certain owners and specific locations. The Dallas Eagle had applied for a change of address and change of officer on July 7, 2009, but the application processing was not complete, and the Dallas Eagle did not have a permit for the new location.

    On July 10, at approximately 9:50pm, upon arriving at 5740 Maple to investigate the complaint, TABC agents learned that the Dallas Police Department had also received a complaint and were planning to work the location in an undercover capacity. TABC agents left the location and returned later to seize the alcoholic beverages being sold.

    TABC agents were not wearing masks, and agents did not make any arrests or issue any criminal citations at Dallas Eagle. TABC did not “close down” the bar, but agents did advise the permit holders that they could not sell alcoholic beverages at that location.

    TABC intends to take administrative action against the permit holder for sale of alcoholic beverages away from the licensed premises (Section 11.06 Alcoholic Beverage Code). The Dallas Eagle could have their permit suspended for 3-5 days or receive a fine (in lieu of suspension) ranging from $900-$1,500.

    TABC will continue to work with Dallas Eagle to process their application to transfer their permit to the new location.

    From the Alcoholic Beverage Code: Sec. 11.06. Privileges Limited to Licensed Premises. No person may use a permit or exercise any privileges granted by the permit except at the place, address, premises, or location for which the permit is issued, except as otherwise provided by this code.

  22. Wheezy says

    Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll. Brian is a troll.

    There! I can be a broken record too!

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