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Candlelight Vigil Planned as Police Chief Floats 'Gay Panic' Defense in Violent Bar Raid in Fort Worth, Texas


Here's an update on activity following the Stonewall-style raid on the recently-opened Rainbow Lounge bar in Fort Worth, Texas which resulted in seven arrests for "public intoxication" and a massive head injury to one of the patrons of the bar.

Tonight, there is a candlelight vigil at 8:30 pm at the Rainbow Lounge (651 South Jennings Ave), where the raid occurred, in honor of injured victim Chad Gibson (more on his condition below). Gibson's arrest pictured, below right.

Gibson's mother speaks out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Rainbow Here's the sickest bit of news about it I've read so far, a statement by Fort Worth police chief Jeff Halstead (via Dan Savage): "Monday, police chief Jeff Halstead said the officers' actions are being investigated. However, he also said that officers that entered the bar during the scheduled inspection were touched inappropriately. 'You're touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that's offensive,' he said. 'I'm happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that.'"

Read that last sentence again. As Savage translates: "Them faggots in that thar bar touched mah officers and now they're complainin' about some rough stuff and one little ol' faggot with a brain injury? Those perverts should be grateful they're alive."

Classic gay panic defense.

The Fort Worth Police also say that Gibson, at the time of his arrest, was in the custody of a State Police officer, not one of the FWPD.

The Rainbow Lounge Raid's Facebook page is growing at a steady rate. An article in the Star-Telegram highlights new media's role in getting the word out about this incident.

Hicks Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks has called for an immediate and comprehensive investigation:

"I join with Councilman Joel Burns in wanting all citizens of Texas and Fort Worth to know and be assured that the laws and ordinances of our City will be applied fairly, equally and without selective enforcement or targeting. As an African American I understand the distrust and fear that grows throughout a community when the belief that there is no recourse or protection is allowed to grow and fester."

Equality Texas has demanded that Mayor Moncrief and all Fort Worth City Council members call for an investigation. They have provided a FORM LETTER that will be sent to municipal officals.

An update on Chad Gibson, the man who sustained a head injury during the raid, from his sister Kristy Morgan:

"Kristy said the most recent CAT scans have shown that the blood clot on Chad’s brain has stopped growing, which is good news, but he is not out of the woods yet. She said doctors told the family that as long as the clot remains — whether it is growing or not — there is the chance that all or some of it could break loose and cause severe damage or death, or that the bleeding could start up again. At this point, Kristy said, doctors are not talking about having to do surgery to repair the bleed or remove the clot. They believe that the clot will eventually dissolve and be reabsorbed into the body, but that could take anywhere from six months to two years. Chad will likely be hospitalized at least for the rest of this week, and will then have to have follow-up appointments and consultations with a neurosurgeon."

Chad Gibson's mother speaks out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Halstead There was a public forum with Fort Worth Police Department chief Halstead:

"After the meeting had started, Chief Halstead announced that the director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had just issued a statement acknowledging that Chad Gibson, who has been hospitalized with a head injury since the incident, was injured while in the custody of TABC agents. Chief Halstead said that determining who was responsible for Gibson’s injury has been the priority of his department’s investigation so far. Now that that is settled, the chief said, the focus for his department will turn to getting as much information as possible regarding the actions of FWPD officers during the incident. To that end, he is asking that anyone and everyone who was at the bar that night and was an eyewitness to the events contact Capt. Garcia at 817-392-4270 to give their account. He said it is vital to a thorough investigation to get as much information as possible from those who were there."

Chad Gibson's mother speaks out, AFTER THE JUMP...

And a report from

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  1. Subject: Joint Statement from Sen. Wendy Davis and Rep Lon Burnam


    CONTACT: Bernie Scheffler

    July 1, 2009;512.463.0110

    Today State Senator Wendy R. Davis and State Representative Lon Burnam issued the following joint statement.

    From: State Senator Wendy Davis and State Representative Lon Burnam

    Re: Incident at Rainbow Lounge, 651 Jennings Ave., Fort Worth on June 28, 2009

    We want to provide you with an update of our response to concerns raised about the actions taken by City of Fort Worth Police officers and Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission agents on the early morning of June 28, 2009 at the Rainbow Lounge, which is located in the Fort Worth portion of the districts that we represent. We are deeply concerned about eye witness accounts of the events that occurred that morning and intend to activate all possible investigatory methods to learn the truth about those events.

    As part of learning as much information as possible about the incident at issue, we requested a meeting with Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission. As a consequence of that request, today we met with TABC representatives Joel Moreno, Chief of Field Operations, and Carolyn Beck, Public Information Officer. In that meeting, we made a very detailed request for information regarding the factual events that occurred at the Rainbow Lounge on both June 25, 2009, when TABC agents first conducted investigation activity at that location, and on June 28, 2009, when TABC agents returned to that location. Additionally, we requested detailed information with regard to the TABC agents' compliance or non-compliance with procedures and policies of TABC as those are expressed in the TABC Enforcement Division Policy, Procedures & Forms manual.

    It is our hope that through a thorough investigation and analysis of the events that occurred at the Rainbow Lounge, particularly in the early morning hours of June 28, our community and those outside our community who have raised concerns, will be able to get the answers they need to their valid questions. Most importantly, Chad Gibson and his family, for whom we are deeply concerned, deserve answers.

    To that end, we intend to make a written request to TABC for answers to the questions raised in the meeting that we held today. Tomorrow, we will issue a joint letter detailing that request.

    Additionally, in order to assure that we and the community at large receive the answers deserved regarding the events of that morning, it is our hope that an objective, outside investigation be made which would examine internal investigation reports of both the Fort Worth Police Department and the TABC, as well as eye witness accounts. Through such an independent review, truth will be best assured. Our community deserves to know whether unacceptable actions were taken at the Rainbow Lounge, and, to the extent they did, that the persons responsible for those actions will be held accountable.


    We appreciate their work and concern on this issue, and we continue to ask for an immediate independent and public investigation of the raid on Rainbow Lounge.

    Posted by: Marlin Bynum | Jul 2, 2009 1:35:21 AM

  2. I wonder if I could get away with beating the next girl that hits on me within an inch of her life? I find it truly terrifying when that happens.

    Posted by: Jack | Jul 2, 2009 1:43:49 AM

  3. It doesn't matter who is responsible! TABC or the FWPD! Such attacks such as this does nothing but provoke the worse possible outcomes! I didn't know anything about this until I saw it on Facebook through a friends site in NYC! Someone had posted a comment saying "BOYCOTT TEXAS"! All in Capital letters! I am a big defender of the State and if I could, would be in FW for the vigil. My heart and prayers go out to Chad and his family!

    Posted by: Steve in Houston | Jul 2, 2009 11:22:11 AM

  4. This is the reason these fucktards have the reputation for being asshole sons of bitches, they earn it.

    Posted by: Troy | Jul 2, 2009 10:23:46 PM

  5. As a gay man who lived his entire life in Houston, Texas; I too have been a victim of police ignorance and violence. Texas has always been a militant state with police and sheriff departments making the law fit the outcome they desire. This is not a secret. The law in Texas and the Bible belt is driven by religious beliefs not the US law. Homosexuality is a sin therefore it is against the law punishable by death.
    In 2006 a young black man spray painted "Die Fag" on my garage door and fired several shots through my front door. No one was hurt and the paint washed off.
    The police arrived and made a report. Later that day, one of the burly white cops returned to my home alone and pulled me through my front door, slammed me up against the wall and informed me to never again call the police with an obvious false report. He proceeded to explain to me how it was clear that this was an attack by a jealous boyfriend since fags always lie.
    I left Texas and the US a few months later. I am now a resident of Australia and enjoy the recognition and protection of a truly free government. I have no desire to return. Australia does not allow guns or racist religions. The US was supposed to be founded on the separation of church and state.

    Posted by: Merlin | Jul 23, 2009 2:35:09 AM

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