Hundreds of people turned up at the
Fort Worth Police Department just hours after police raided a gay bar
early Sunday morning on the 40th anniversary of the gay
rights movement, the Dallas
Citing the accompanying paddy wagon
that rolled up to the Rainbow Lounge, located at 615 S. Jennings
Street, about 1AM Sunday, the protesters called the raid police
harassment, and demanded answers from the city.
According to eye witness reports, the
police arrived at the bar unannounced with paddy wagons in tow, and
proceeded to handcuff and arrest people. Patrons said the police
were aggressive and threatening.
One man has been hospitalized after
suffering a critical injury to the head. The paper released the name
of the injured man, Chad Gibbons, late Sunday, and reported he was
“This looked like random harassment,
plain and simple,” said Todd Camp, who was present during the raid
and called for the rally.
The raid was conducted by officers of
the Fort Worth Police Department and agents of the Texas Alcoholic
Late on Sunday, the police department
issued a statement defending their actions.
“Alcohol beverage code inspections
are conducted frequently at establishments located within the city
limits of Fort Worth. These are conducted in order to ensure a safe
environment for all.”
But the department's explanation for
its heavy-handedness is likely to inflame the protesters. The police
say at least three of the seven men arrested made “sexually
explicit movements” towards the officers, a charge eye-witnesses
“While walking through the Rainbow
Lounge, an extremely intoxicated patron made sexually explicit
movements toward the police supervisor. This individual was arrested
for public intoxication. Another intoxicated individual also made
sexually explicit movements towards another officer and he was
arrested for public intoxication. A third individual inside the
lounge assaulted the TABC agent by grabbing the TABC agent's groin.
He was escorted outside and arrested for public intoxication.”
“No one was acting aggressive to
officers,” Camp told the Star-Telegram.
“That is a lie, and I'm appalled by
it,” J.R. Schrock, owner of the Rainbow Lounge, told the Dallas
Voice. “We're gay, but we're not dumb.”
The protesters agree that bar
inspections are routine in Fort Worth, but insist the inspection on
the Rainbow Lounge was an aggressive raid meant to intimidate the
“Usually, they're very orderly and
respectful – they work with the bar staff an check IDs, it's quick
and painless,” Camp said. “This was not that. This was
harassment, plain and simple.”
The raid comes on the day most people
recognize as the birth of the modern gay rights movement, June 28.
In 1969, the patrons of Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn revolted
against an aggressive New York City police department. For five
days, thousands joined in protesting against police who often raided
gay bars. Stonewall has become synonymous with gay rights.