Source: Dallas Voice

On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, it appears local and state police have recreated history in Fort Worth, Texas. It happened at the newly-opened Rainbow Lounge, described as “the only cool gay bar in town,” by Q Cinema founder and former Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Todd Camp.

From someone present at the time of the raid:

The not awesome thing was the paddy wagon of homophobic police that showed up … looking for trouble. My group and I were sitting on the back patio at a picnic table. Nobody was being wild out there. [The police] came through with flashlights, being loud asking what was going on out here, then asked why everyone was all the sudden being quiet. When one group started up their conversations again, they took one guy away. I left shortly after and as I walked through the front bar there were numerous cops with plastic handcuffs all ready to go. I [left] the bar and they [had] a big van in the parking lot and numerous cars on the street. And just so you know, it wasn’t fire hazard crowded or seedy wild in there. … The worst part is [friends later told me] that [the police] had numerous people face down on the ground outside. I just moved to Fort Worth from Dallas, so this is such a shock to me. I know Dallas would not put up with this.  … I am still so shocked it is 2009 and this just happened.

Information is sketchy at best right now, but commenters on the Dallas Voice blog have said that police are saying now they had received a call alleging a sexual assault at the bar’s address.  Arrests were made for “public drunkenness” which is a bit confusing (inside a bar?).

I frequented some gay bars in my early days of coming to grips with my sexuality (around 1990) and remember police occasionally dropping by en masse with flashlights and an ominous attitude.  I don’t recall them ever finding a problem or arresting anyone, but it contributed heavily to my own feeling that I was somehow “bad.”

We hope this incident receives the scrutiny, public and legal, that it deserves.

Update: 6/29

Chad Gibson, one of the patrons of the Rainbow Lounge at the time of the raid, reportedly had his head slammed into the concrete while being arrested.  While initial CAT scans looked good, follow-ups show increase bleeding in his brain.  He is in the hospital and is said to have no memory of the events at the bar, and only spotty memories of earlier in the day.

Some new bits of information indicate the local police, along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, conducted a bar check.  We again caution that this information is spotty and some details may not in fact be accurate, though obviously something along these lines has happened.  It could be that some mistook the TABC agents for state police.

KDAF-TV Dallas / Fort Worth  is reporting all this as a “simple code inspection.”

More coverage:

KTVT Dallas / Fort Worth


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