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Fort Worth Police Chief Fights Bias-Based Policing

ChiefHalstead The police in Fort Worth, TX, continue taking steps toward a more inclusive city.

Yesterday, a little over 18 months after his force raided a gay bar, Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead announced the implementation of a new policy barring "bias-based policing," including LGBT biases.

The policy reads:


Officers shall not use race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, membership in a cultural group or an individual’s ability/inability to speak English as the criteria for determining when or how to take enforcement action or provide police services.


Halstead told the Dallas Voice that the rule "incorporates language located throughout departmental General Orders and consolidates it into one succinct order that clearly defines what bias-based policing means and strictly prohibits it."

While the Fort Worth police were criticized for the 2009 raid on Rainbow Lounge, Halstead explained that the policy was not a reaction to any specific event. It's simply "a proactive step to continue building trust in the community, which is essential for public and officer safety.”

In addition to the bias-based prohibitions, the force has started planning an alert program for hate and bias crime reports. "We are looking to begin tracking 'bias' incidents, meaning that if any actions or statements are made as a part of a crime, but the crime itself does not meet the criteria of a hate crime, we want to be able to track those as 'bias incidents,'" said Halstead, who worked to rebuild relations between LGBT communities and coppers after the raid.

Apparently Halstead's efforts are paying off, because local LGBT leader Jon Nelson praised the chief's progress: "We didn’t discuss this with him. Nobody pressured him to do this. He did it on his own."

He continued, "[The policy is] as clear as it can be. It puts his employees on notice: they have to act without bias, and there are specific ramifications if they fail in that. I say, good for him.”


Charges Against Victims Of Gay Bar Raid Dropped

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It took awhile but prosecutors have finally dropped charges against two men who were injured in the June 2009 raid of the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth. Prosecutors decided to pursue charges against the two this past February, eight months after the raid. Public intoxication charges against two other men were also dropped:

The dismissals came 2 ½ weeks before Chad Gibson, who suffered a head injury in the June 2009 incident, and George Armstrong had been set to go to trial on public intoxication charges. Both had pleaded not guilty, and Gibson also pleaded not guilty to assaulting a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent.

In a prepared statement released Friday, city spokesman Jason Lamers confirmed that the Class C misdemeanor charges against Gibson and Armstrong were dropped Thursday.

Public intoxication cases against Dylan Brown, 24, and Jose Macias, 32, also were dropped.

"As it is our official policy not to discuss municipal court prosecutions or litigation, the city will have no further comment," Lamers said. Adam Seidel, criminal defense attorney for Gibson and Armstrong, said he had received the news of the dismissals Thursday afternoon in a courtesy call from a court clerk. "Their words early on were that serious mistakes were made by law enforcement and the city wanted to learn from those mistakes and move forward," Seidel said. "I guess finally the actions are matching the words."

As Andy noted earlier this year, a documentary about the raid is currently being produced. Raid of the Rainbow Lounge is currently seeking more funding in order to get it completed, but the filmmakers have put together a teaser trailer. In case you missed it, you can watch it, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Radio Jock Attacks Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns

ChrisYou'd be hard-pressed to find anyone not touched by Joel Burns' anti-bullying speech during a Fort Worth City Council meeting last month. But at least one person wasn't: KLIF radio jock Chris Krok. His reaction was the exact opposite, actually.

The day after Burns' plea to bullied LGBT youth, Krok took to the airwaves to bash him mocking the gay city councilman with a lisp, calling him selfish and playing down gay teen suicide by outrageously claiming that not one gay kid in Forth Worth has committed suicide. The DJ is also upset with the fact that Burns referred to his partner as husband and asks Burns to "stop lying" about being married.

Krok is exactly the kind of the bully that Burns is trying to protect LGBT youth from. Listen to the rant, AFTER THE JUMP.

The station's contact information is below:

Talk Radio 570 KLIF

3500 Maple Avenue 16th Floor

Dallas, TX 75219

214-526-2400

Program Director: paul@klif.com

Chris Krok Show: chris.Afternoons@cumulus.com

Continue reading "Radio Jock Attacks Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns" »


Watch: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and Husband J.D. Angle on 'The Last Word'

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Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and his husband J.D. Angle appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to talk about Burns' viral speech about bullying. Angle says he didn't know that Joel had even written the speech till just before he delivered it. Angle also says that he hadn't heard Joel's bullying story in 17 years of marriage.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Watch: Ellen Talks to Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and His Mom About Anti-Gay Bullying

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Fort Worth City Councilman, Joel Burns, whose powerful and emotional anti-bullying statement has been seen around the world, appeared on Ellen today (along with his mom) to talk about his message.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via the victory fund)

Continue reading "Watch: Ellen Talks to Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and His Mom About Anti-Gay Bullying" »


Watch: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns' Amazing Tearful Statement to Bullied Gay Teens

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Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns broke down at last night's City Council meeting during an emotional personal statement about his own taunting by anti-gay bullies as a teen.

"I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a fag, and that I should die and go to Hell where I belonged."

Burns went on to discuss meeting his partner, getting elected, and developing a bond with his dad, promising teens, "It gets better."

Don't miss this.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Writes The Victory Fund: "Burns became the first openly gay candidate elected to public office in Tarrant County, Texas, when he won a special election for a seat on the Fort Worth City Council in 2007.  He was reelected in 2009."

Continue reading "Watch: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns' Amazing Tearful Statement to Bullied Gay Teens" »


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