Monday, July 06, 2009

Their next plan is to beat up a rabbi on Yom Kippur

I hadn't mentioned the case sooner because I really have nothing insightful or thought provoking to add, but the fallout from a recent TABC/police raid in Fort Worth of a gay bar on the anniversary of New York's Stonewall riot has begun to snowball, receiving a lot of national press attention. The New York Times covered it over the weekend, and here's a snippet from today's LA Times coverage ("Police raid at gay club in Texas stirs ugly memories"):
Reporting from Fort Worth -- Todd Camp and some friends had just marked the 40th anniversary of the police raid on New York's Stonewall Inn by screening a documentary on the historic gay riots and then heading for drinks at the Rainbow Lounge.

Camp remembered looking across the bar, packed with gay and some straight couples, and marveling how much times had changed since Stonewall -- the spark that ignited the gay rights movement.

And then the police came.

"No one knew what was happening," said Camp, founder of the Q Cinema gay film festival in Fort Worth. "All I could think was, 'It's Stonewall all over again, and we can't do anything about it.' "

Seven officers from the Fort Worth Police Department and two agents from the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission clashed with about 300 bar patrons in the early hours of June 28, reviving an ancient dread that even this conservative Texas city had thought long past.

Seven people were arrested, and witnesses said one man had his head slammed into a door by law enforcement officials. Chad Gibson, 26, was hospitalized with a brain injury and released Saturday.

"It was strange that all this happened on that night of all nights," said Mark Potok, a director at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama. "If it was a simple mistake, then it was a very, very foolish one."

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead defended his officers, saying they entered a hostile environment and were taunted by patrons with "sexually explicit movements."
Police first said Gibson harmed himself, then said an officer reacted because Gibson groped his crotch in the jam-packed bar. But other witnesses and now Mr. Gibson are telling a very different story. As the Dallas News dryly described the contradiction: "Police initially said Gibson had injured himself when he fell and hit his head. That contradicted witnesses who said police slammed him into the wall and floor and aggressively tackled several other patrons who were arrested that night."

I have no idea if Fort Worth police and TABC officers knew that evening was the anniversary of the infamous Stonewall riot in New York City, much less if any of them consciously viewed their actions as making some kind of statement about that notorious anniversary. But I don't blame Rainbow Lounge patrons (or others in DFW's large gay community) for leaping to that obvious connection.

For those who want more details, The Dallas Voice has really been earning its keep on this story, publishing eyewitness accounts and also blogging up a storm, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does Alan Steen have to say?

Anonymous said...

I really believe there is a large fascist/KKK/hate-motivated component in Texas law enforcement. I think the date chosen was likely deliberate - it was so publicized in the national media - could it really have been coincidence?

What can we do to get the justice department addressing our problems with hateful law enforcement?

Anonymous said...

I find it very scary that the police somehow think their behavior could be excused if they saw someone make a 'sexually explicit movement,' whatever that is.

Boyness said...

I have a problem with the TABC and police going into bars and arresting people for public intoxication. it is clear from the statements of witnesses that the cops wanted to do some fag-bashing, and that's just what they did.

doran said...

Putting together info from recent media accounts, including this one, the following actions justify law enforcement in beating the crap out of people and/or tasering people:

1. Taunting police.

2. Taunting police with sexually explicit movements. (WTF are those?)

3. Disagreeing with an officer about a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

4. Being a crabby great-grandmother.

5. Failing to give way to an approaching police vehicle with the correct degree of alacrity.

I'm sure there are others. A little help here, please.

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the homo-phobes who work forces! They are the same that burn crosses!!! Not only will they rally round the family with a pocket full of shells, they will face-plant you into a door and leave you brain damaged.

Anonymous said...

This is Texas, the dumbest white KKK psychopaths are either locked up, guarding those locked up, or locking people up. These red nick pigs were too stupid to know anything about gay pride history. That’s giving them to much credit. Most likely just a bunch of pigs out for some good old gay bashing. And of course the grand wizard is going to cover for his little piglets. It’s too bad the patrons of the Rainbow lounge didn’t just take the gay bashers radios and made them squeal. LOL That would have made for a more entertaining news story. Pigs beating up defenseless civilians and abusing their power, while there grand poobas cover for them is so common. They better stay away from rabbi’s, because there isn’t any of that turn the other check crap with those guys. They will get their un-kosher butt kicked. It was the Jews who ran the little faggity KKK out of Dallas.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:06

Rage on brotha...

Anonymous said...

It's time to Rage Against the Machine! The bulls on parade from TABC and Ft. Worth SS division need a bully beatdown. The bullies generally can dish it out but can't take it. I'll bet they cry like a bunch of little punkasses when they get their heads slammed into a door.

Anonymous said...

None of us like the cops.