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A Texas Style Stonewall Brings LGBT Attention.

July 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Stonewall, Texas StyleSo many conflicting stories are floating around about what happened at the Rainbow Lounge.  A lot of attention has been placed on the injury to Chad Gibson.  Some say that it constitutes police brutality.  While it very well may does, police had gone too far before well before Chad was injured.

Josh Taylor and his friend Dylan had been at the bar that evening for about an hour.  Josh was on his third drink when the raid began.  Officers entered the VIP lounge and arrested Dylan first.  Josh stopped one of the officers and asked why they were arresting his friend.  The officer pointed at Josh and said, “P.I.”  Josh was then taken into custody.

Did you know Police and TABC officers can arrest on suspicion of public intoxication?  Not only were sobriety tests not performed, but they are not required for the arrest.  This is more than a “gay issue,” this is a human rights issue.

Further, I asked Josh directly whether he, or anyone else to his knowledge, groped or otherwise made sexual gestures at police.  As suspected, Josh answered that he saw no one perform anything as such.

That seems consistent with other reports from witnesses.  Seems no one at Rainbow Lounge that night, except for the TABC officers and Ft. Worth Police Department,  saw any such gesturing or groping.  But why then would the police claim they were groped?

The Gay Panic Defense.  Perhaps the most ridiculous, yet successful, defense for beating or murdering gays yet.  The defense was first used by Jonathan Schmitz for killing Scott Amedure after Scott declared his love for Jonathan on The Jenny Jones Show.

The murders of Matthew Shepard initially claimed this as their defense.  However, in Wyoming, the Judge ruled such a defense constitutes either “a temporary insanity defense or a diminished capacity defense,” both of which are bared under Wyoming Law.  Not the case in Texas where a good ole boy can claim “self defense” for a killing a gay man for coming onto him and a jury would acquit the guy.

However, in this instance a nation of voices has said “ENOUGH” to Texas.  Calls and letters and questions came in from around the nation.  The result? The Ft. Worth Mayor has requested that the Federal Government monitor the investigation into the allegations against the Ft. Worth Police Department and the Police Chief, Jeff Halstead, has suspended bar raids in collaboration with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (“TABC”).

In spite of this progress, there is more work to be done.  While the TABC has indicated they are investigating the allegations and that they have placed the agents involved on the day shift (desk duty) they have not yet requested any oversight by the federal government.  Thus, there is still reason for us to stand together as a nation.  Help this Texan out.  Please contact Senators and Representatives in Texas, the TABC and Texas U.S. Representatives and Senators.  Demand federal oversight of the TABC investigation, demand state policy changes, protect human rights.  Together, we can build a safer Texas for ALL people.

Another First Hand Account Indicates Police Targeted Gays in Ft. Worth Raid.

June 29, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News

stonewallMore and more eyewitness accounts of the police raid of the Ft. Worth gay bar, Rainbow Lounge, are being circulated, many via the Facebook page set up for information on the raid.  One account by a straight ally who was not arrested or ticketed in spite of admitting to police that she was drunk indicates:

I was appalled to read the official statement issued by the police. The allegations of assault, groping, and resisting arrest were complete fabrications. Men parted like the red sea wherever the police were. No one was groping them.

I WILL NOT SIT BACK AND BE SILENT. I WILL CONTINUE TO SHARE MY STORY AND PROTEST ALONGSIDE THE COMMUNITY THAT HAS MADE ME FEEL SO WELCOME. I ENTERED THE BAR A PATRON ON SATURDAY NIGHT, AND BECAUSE OF THE POLICE BRUTALITY AND DISCRIMINATION I WITNESSED I LEFT AN ACTIVIST.

— [Alison Egert]

Yet again, witness accounts of the evening completely contradict the police allegations of resisting arrest, groping of officers and lewd sexual gestures by patrons.

Ft. Worth City Councilman Joel Burns released the following statement yesterday evening:

We want all citizens of Texas and Fort Worth to know and be assured that the laws and ordinances of our great State and City will be applied fairly, equally and without malice or selective enforcement. We consider this to be part of “The Fort Worth Way” here. As elected representatives of the city of Fort Worth, we are calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the City of Fort Worth Police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning, June 28, 2009.

It is unfortunate that this incident occurred in Fort Worth and even more so to have occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. Unlike 40 years ago, though, the people of this community have elective representation that will make sure our government is accountable and that the rights of all of its citizens are protected. We are working together with our Mayor, Police Chief, the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, and our State Legislative colleagues to get a complete and accurate accounting of what occurred.

Rest assured that neither the people of Fort Worth, nor the city government of Fort Worth, will tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens. And know that the GLBT Community is an integral part of the economic and cultural life of Fort Worth.

Every Fort Worth citizen deserves to have questions around this incident answered and we are all working aggressively toward that end.

SOME RELATED LINKS:

Dym Sum | Stonewall Revisited?  Fort Worth, TX Gay Bar Raided

Truth and Love After 40 (via Pam’s House Blend)

The Daily Kos | Raid on Ft. Worth Bar

On Top Magazine | Hundred Protest Police Raid of Ft. Worth Bar

Feministing | Raid in Ft. Worth Bar of Rainbow Lounge

Facebook Group dedicated to the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

CNN Coverage of the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

Search of Google News for Latest Information.