Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief
apologized for a raid on a gay bar that left one man hospitalized,
kristv.com, an NBC affiliate reported Tuesday.
About 400 people crowded into city
council chambers and lined hallways to hear the mayor speak about the
June 28 raid on the Rainbow Lounge that has left the city facing a
public relations nightmare.
Someone in the crowd called out for an
“If you want an apology from the
mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what happened in Fort Worth,”
Moncrief said. Audience members, clearly elated, rose to their feet
and applauded loudly.
Earlier, seven gay activist were
escorted out of the building after they demanded the mayor move
discussion on the bar raid to the top of the council's agenda. The
mayor refused. Blake Wilkinson, founder of Queer LiberAction,
continued to argue with the mayor and people in the hallway began
chanting “Hear us now!” Wilkinson and six others were escorted
out of the building.
The inspection at the recently reopened
Rainbow Lounge has drawn loud protests from the gay community which
has called the raid “police harassment.”
The inspections, carried out jointly by
the Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission, are under internal investigation by both agencies.
Police officers involved have been desked. And Police Chief Jeff
Halstead has announced suspension of all joint operations between the
But the department's initial defense of
the raid – the inspection was routine, and patrons sexually groped
officers – has lead to wider calls for an outside investigation.
City Councilmembers Kathleen Hicks and
Joel Burns, who is openly gay, were the first to call for an outside
investigation. Tuesday Mayor Moncrief reiterated that he backs a
federal review of the police department's investigation.
Police Chief Halstead announced earlier
in the day that he has appointed Officer Sara Straten as a liaison to
the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Straten is to
lead a diversity training program for officers, Halstead said.
Seven men were arrested during the
raid, and patrons at the bar said the police used excessive force.