Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Fort Worth Pulls in its Horns: Charges Against Rainbow Lounge Raid Victims Dropped

Police and TABC subdue Chad Gibson during Rainbow Lounge Raid (Chuck Potter cell phone photo)

Fort Worth, Texas – Dallas Voice reports that charges against all the victims of the Fort Worth Police and TABC Raid against the Rainbow Lounge have been dropped by the city.  The infamous Raid took place on June 28, 2009, the 40th anniversary of an eerily similar bar bashing that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village.  To recap: Officers of the Fort Worth Police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the newly-opened Rainbow Lounge, intimidating patrons, arresting men on charges of intoxication, and arresting Chad Gibson on a charge of assault against an officer.  Gibson was seriously wounded by arresting officers who slammed him to the concrete, and caused a brain hemorrhage.  Gibson has subsequently recovered.  The raiders contended that Gibson “groped” an officer in the course of the arrest.  While the TABC acted to discipline its officers, firing some of them for breaking policy during the raid, the Fort Worth Police have never admitted any wrong-doing in an incident that gave Fort Worth bad press throughout the nation and the world for colossal insensitivity at the very least, and, in the eyes of many, outright police brutality.  Chief Halstead of the FWPD made homophobic remarks that boomeranged on him and the city in the wake of the raid.  Dallas and Fort Worth LGBTQ communities protested the raid, drawing media attention for weeks.  In February, eight months after the raid, the city of Fort Worth pressed charges and scheduled trials for the gay men arrested that night.  Now, in a 180 degree reversal of direction, all charges against the Rainbow Lounge Raid Five have been dropped.  Jason Lamers, official spokesperson for the city of Fort Worth, issued this statement to the press: “The Class C misdemeanor charges from the Rainbow Lounge against George Armstrong, Dylan Brown, Chad Gibson and Jose Macias were dismissed yesterday by the city. As it is our official policy not to discuss municipal court prosecutions or litigation, the city will have no further comment.” The public intoxication charges against Armstrong, Brown, Macias, and Gibson were dropped, as well as the assault charge lodged against Gibson.  While something less than a full vindication of the victims of the raid, the action of the city amounts to an admission that the charges and the raid were without merit and were unjustified in the first place.  Fairness Fort Worth, Queer LiberAction, and many more activist groups which protested the raid have been proven right by this retreat on the part of the city.  “The Fort Worth Way,” the behind-the-scenes management of the city of Fort Worth by an oligarchic group of landed gentry and wealthy families, can also claim some degree of victory in this action, as well.  The FWPD never admitted wrong-doing, Mayor Mike Moncrief, a scion of one of the city’s leading families, never apologized, and political cover remains intact for the way the raid was handled.  But this abrupt decision, to drop all charges against men who were enjoying a summer night on the town in a gay bar, signals that Cowtown has gotten the message from the LGBTQ citizenry of North Texas: they will not tolerate bullying and oppression anymore.  In a Texas-style stare-down, the queer community did not blink–Cowtown did.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Fort Worth Police Department, gay men, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, police brutality, Protests and Demonstrations, Rainbow Lounge Raid, Social Justice Advocacy, Stonewall Inn, Texas, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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