Macho Fort Worth coppers give Texas their own Stonewall

UPDATED

The grand opening sign still hangs above the door of the Rainbow Lounge, but the recently opened dance club has already become a rallying point for gay men and lesbians here, after a raid by law enforcement last week left one man hospitalized with a head injury and prompted complaints of brutality.

The raid in the early hours of June 28 by Fort Worth police officers and agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has set off a political uproar and galvanized gay advocates in Fort Worth, who have traditionally been less vocal than in Dallas and Houston. After years of keeping a low profile, gay men and lesbians in Fort Worth say they are furious, and their complaints have spread on the Internet, attracting support from gay rights groups across the country…

The incident has drawn even more attention because of its timing; it came on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riot in New York City, widely considered to be the start of the gay rights movement.

Law enforcement officials have begun an investigation into the accusations of brutality, and internal affairs officers from the state liquor authority were interviewing employees of the club on Friday afternoon, sifting through conflicting accounts of what had happened.

I presume you know by now what “conflicting reports” means? It means that some of the cops are being caught in their lies.

Fort Worth’s police chief, Jeffrey W. Halstead, initially stood behind his officers, saying Monday that patrons had provoked the scuffle by making sexual gestures toward officers.

But as the week went on, Chief Halstead backed away from that stance. By Thursday, he had ordered an inquiry, suspended operations with the state beverage commission and promised to give police officers “multicultural training.” He declined a request for an interview.

“Multicultural training” in Texas means you can only kill Mexicans unchallenged.

Chad Gibson, a 26-year-old computer technician from Euless, about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth, suffered a concussion, a hairline fracture to his skull and internal bleeding after officers slammed his head into a wall and then into the floor, witnesses and family members said. Mr. Gibson was still hospitalized on Friday evening as doctors monitored a blood clot in his brain, his mother, Karen Carter, said.

Another patron suffered broken ribs, and a third had a broken thumb, said Todd Camp, the founder and artistic director of Q. Cinema, a gay film festival in Fort Worth. Mr. Camp, a former journalist, said he was celebrating his 43rd birthday in the bar when the police arrived at 1:05 a.m.

RTFA. If you feel strongly about honest law enforcement, you resent clowns like this tarring the whole of any police department with the brush of bigotry.

OTOH, it takes a lot of convincing that any PD in Texas has made it to the 20th Century, so far. Much less the 21st.

UPDATE: The creep coppers have been fired. Bravo!

2 thoughts on “Macho Fort Worth coppers give Texas their own Stonewall

  1. moss says:

    Is there some reason why redneck homophobes can’t come up with a new excuse? Here’s these big, burly cops – guns, mace, tasers, body armor – and because they say someone made a lewd gesture in their direction all sorts of mayhem is justified.

    Cripes. Can you imagine what they’d do if John Cleese farted at them?

  2. Jeremy says:

    The community needs to continue to press for federal intervention until these “officers” are fired. There was no legitimate reason for 5 officers to pile on top of a 150 pound man, nearly killing him. Outrageous. Reports of overtures toward these officers are obviously lies–nearly all bar patrons report that the atmosphere was charged with fear as these violent thugs went out their business. We we DO have are multiple accounts by witnesses of a very violent and despicable attack, with many threats of further violence and rough handling of honest people. Remove these thugs from the tax-supported payroll. Rather, they need to be in prison themselves for their illegal actions that night. There are plenty of witnesses. Federal investigation. Federal prosecution! Weed out the dishonest officers, and jail the criminal ones. Despicable! Despicable! Justice!

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