About 18 hours after officers with the Fort Worth Police Department and agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission raided a Fort Worth gay bar, about 150 to 200 people gathered on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown
Fort Worth Sunday night, June 28, to protest the raid.
Sources have said that seven people were arrested in the raid although witnesses at the scene said many more people were handcuffed with zip ties and taken out of the bar.
One man was in the intensive care unit at Fort Worth's JPS Hospital with bleeding in his brain after officers threw him to the ground and used zip-ties to handcuff him.
The raid happened on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion.
Joel Burns, Fort Worth's first and only openly gay City Council member said: As elected representatives of the city of Fort Worth, we are calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the city of Fort Worth police and
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning.
Lisa Thomas, Burns' appointee to the city's Human Relations Commission, also spoke at the rally, as did Todd Camp and Chuck Potter, two men who were at the bar when the raid happened and who were the primary organizers of Sunday's two rallies.
Camp, referring to eyewitness accounts of the raid and to photographs that Potter took as the raid was occurring, said at the rally that evidence demonstrates that the Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner
over-reacted and used excessive, perhaps brutal force … .
Fort Worth police released a statement to several mainstream media outlets saying that Rainbow Lounge was one of three bars targeted by six Fort Worth police officers and two TABC agents and a supervisor.
The statement said that nine people were arrested at the first two bars — the Rosedale Saloon and Cowboy Palace, both on Rosedale Avenue — and that another seven people were arrested at Rainbow Lounge.
The statement also said that an extremely intoxicated patron made sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor and that person was arrested for public intoxication.
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief called on federal prosecutors to ensure a thorough review of last week's bar raid that resulted in a serious head injury to one patron.
Parallel investigations — one by Fort Worth police and another within the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — are already under way into what happened at the Rainbow Lounge.
And, police chief Jeff Halstead has announced the indefinite suspension of bar checks conducted jointly by his department and TABC.
Moncrief encouraged anyone who witnessed the events to tell police what they saw, and he said he has asked acting U.S. Attorney James Jacks to independently review the police investigation afterward to ensure the department has thoroughly and
impartially carried out its obligation to all the citizens of Fort Worth. I encourage the TABC to follow the same course.
Moncrief also wished a speedy recovery for Chad Gibson who was among six people arrested in the early-morning raid. Gibson suffered a serious head injury and was recovering at John Peter Smith Hospital.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has released a report that said three of its employees had violated numerous agency procedures in connection with a police raid on a Fort Worth gay bar in which authorities clashed with hundreds of bar
Commission officials said that disciplinary actions were pending against three agents over the raid at the Rainbow Lounge.
Seven people at the bar were arrested, and witnesses said one man had his head slammed into a door by agents. Chad Gibson was hospitalized with a brain injury and released a week later.
Among other things, the report said that agents Aller and Chapman had taken part in the raid without agency approval; failed to file the paperwork to investigate the club for possible lewd conduct and sales to intoxicated customers; failed to
report the use of force in arresting two people; and failed to report that Gibson had been injured. Both men have been assigned to desk duty pending further notice.
The commission will release a separate report this summer on its agents' use of force at the club.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it has fired two agents, as well as their supervisor, who took part in this summer's raid of a Fort Worth gay bar that resulted in law enforcement clashing with hundreds of patrons and left one man
with a serious head injury.
Christopher Aller and Jason Chapman were terminated as of Friday over the Rainbow Lounge raid. Their supervisor, Terry Parsons, who was not at the bar during the incident, will be terminated as of Sept. 2, according to a statement.