Sunday, June 28, 2009

Police Raid Texas Gay Bar

On the anniversary of Stonewall, police raided a gay bar in Fort Worth Texas, arriving with zip cuffs and paddy wagons, in what they are saying was a routine check of local liquor establishments. Protests were held today. From the Star-Telegram:
Witnesses say that police arrived at the nightclub about 1 a.m. Sunday and arrested seven people and that one of those arrested suffered a fractured skull during the takedown and is at a Fort Worth hospital.

About 75 people showed up Sunday afternoon at the Rainbow Lounge to make signs for the rally. Some of the signs read: "Give us Answers Now" and "We Have Rights Too."

Fort Worth police released a statement saying that the Rainbow Lounge was not the only bar targeted by six Fort Worth police officers and two agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and a supervisor. The group first went to the Rosedale Saloon and Cowboy Palace on Rosedale Street. Nine people were arrested, police report.
A Facebook group has sprung up to relay information about the raid and the ensuing protests. Witnesses were given the chance to post their first hand experiences. One of the club's dancers reports thusly:
I was one of the dance entertainers last night at Rainbow Lounge. I was dancing on a box in the VIP lounge and was looking right at the first guy who was arrested. The male patron was standing at the bar doing nothing but having a having a drink and a fun time (like people do in bars) when an officer entered that section of the club and made a beeline straight towards him. The officer forcefully spun the man around, shoved him against the bar and placed plastic restraints on his wrists. The officer then marched the man out the club. The guy was stunned and obviously really scared.

I was still standing near the entrance to the VIP lounge with a friend when an officer approached a man standing there. The man had water in his hand. The officer asked him how much he had had to drink and the man said that he didn't have to answer that. The officer then said that he was going to arrest him for public intoxication. The man said,"You can't do that I am just standing here right now drinking water." At the time the officer shoved the man over towards the wall near the dressing room and then back to the rear wall near the men's restroom, then down onto the floor. Several other officers, made their way back there to hold that ONE MAN down on the ground as they placed restraints on him. At the time I noticed that all of them did not have FWPD uniforms on. Some of them were actually State Police.

I came out of my horrified daze at that moment and told my friend that we needed to get out of there quickly. I just felt like everything was about to go crazy. Outside the bar, there were officers standing all over the place. I did a quick scan and counted seven squad cars. I heard one officer telling a young woman who was complaining to him about being harrassed by them that they were only there to protect the citizens of Fort Worth and to keep drunk people from being on the roads.
Whoa, dude. This was a weird choice of days to do this (A) and (B) I thought we were done with this 40 years ago. There may be a plausible explanation, and I'll be very curious to hear what the PD has to say about this over the next few days.

1 comment:

The Seeker said...

It baffles me how police can raid bars and arrest people for public intoxication to "protect the public from drunks on the roads." Think they'll raid homes to make sure people don't pregame and then drive somewhere?!
It's a fucking BAR. People go there to get drunk while being entertained.