Gay rights activists in Fort Worth are
dissatisfied with police suspensions over a raid on a gay bar –
calling it “a slap on the hand” – and have renewed their call
for an independent investigation, The Dallas Morning News
Police Chief Jeff Halstead returned to
the scene of the June raid to release his findings on Thursday.
Standing outside the Rainbow Lounge, he said the investigation found
that three officers violated departmental policies, but dismissed all
charges that police used excessive force. Each of the officers
received a one- to three-day suspension.
“We did not provide service to the
GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community with
respect,” said Halstead. “It was clear from some of the 32
witnesses interviewed that some of our officers entered into the
Rainbow Lounge in a manner that was perceived as aggressive, rude and
The June 28 inspection resulted in the
arrests of six people for public intoxication and sent one man, Chad
Gibson, to the hospital with a severe head injury. The raid sparked
a loud outcry from the city's gay and lesbian community, which has
called the raid police harassment.
Agents from the Texas Alcoholic
Beverage Commission (TABC) assisted the department in carrying out
the raid. After conducting its own investigation, TABC officials
fired three agents involved in the raid.
In July, the police department released
a report that suggested officers and agents turned violent because
they faced sexually aggressive patrons – a claim eye-witnesses
deny. Men and women “were reaching their hands out to touch
officers, and moving their bodies in a sexually suggestive manner”
as officers and agents inspected the club, the police report says.
The report alleges that Rainbow Lounge patrons blew kisses, groped
agents and simulated sex acts with police officers.
Jon Nelson, spokesman for Fairness Fort
Worth, a gay rights group that formed after the raid, renewed his
call for an independent investigation. “This report, because of
the lack of proper and adequate disciplinary actions, does not set
the standard for accountability,” he said during the news
Chief Halstead's initial response to
the raid angered activists, who called his icy “take a deep breath”
comment insensitive. Halstead has since apologized.
Thursday's police report on the use of
force was originally expected in September.