Monday, July 13, 2009

Second LGBT Bar Raid in Texas by Officers Wearing Ninja Masks

A second Texas LGBT bar, the Eagle, was raided this weekend by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) within weeks of the infamous raid on the Rainbow Lounge in the neighboring city of Fort Worth.

The Eagle says the TABC officials stated the purpose of the raid was to question whether or not the establishment had updated its liquor license indicating a change of address. The Eagle had moved just yards into a new building where their old parking lot used to stand and was celebrating its grand opening,

The officers came back later and shut down the bar after a drink was sold.

Pictures of the agents taken by bar patrons show the officials wearing ninja masks. The photo posted here comes from eyewitnesses posting from The Chaser Blog. You read that right. NINJA MASKS.

A TABC spokeswoman responded to the incident today, saying “Basically they were in the process of applying for a change of address, and it had not made it through the process,” TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said. “They were doing what they were supposed to be doing, but then they jumped the gun.”

“Our agents were not wearing ninja masks, and we did not make any arrests,” Beck said. “Our agents did not make any arrests, and to our knowledge … there weren’t any underage drinking violations or undercover minors. The issue at that location was that they were selling alcohol without a permit for that location.”

Beck did say that it could have been the Dallas Police Department (DPD) who wore the masks. A DPD spokesman concurred it could have been one of their officers who do at time wear masks to conceal their identities, but they do not have the authority to shut down a bar.

“We’re out there doing this same kind of thing at other locations, and people just aren’t talking about it and aren’t hearing about it,” Beck told the Dallas Voice.

She also doesn't think this new incident will result in any investigation into how it was handled.

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything that makes us think that that would be appropriate or necessary, and I don’t know that I’ve heard any allegations from anybody who was actually there that would make us believe that there’s anything to investigate,” she said.

“But for the fact that they were both gay bars [Rainbow Lounge and the Eagle], I’m not sure there’s anything that these two incidents have in common, but tell me if I’m missing something.”

Gay activist Rick Vanderslice says he is "outraged" and wants to know what is prompting the raids.


  1. Thus far, it doesn't seem like there's any evidence to prove the bar was targeted for its gay clientele. And yet, on the heels of the Rainbow Lounge raid, its fishy for sure. But ninja masks? W.T.F. That is bizarre. I mean, what's the need to conceal your identity during a routine liquor license check...unless, of course, your motivations are shady?

    Add this to the list of reasons why I moved away from my hometown.

  2. In this case, even I will have to say it doesn't sound like the bar was targeted. As a Texan, it is very common that TABC come into a bar and check liscensing - even send minors in to order drinks and then fine the bar if they serve the minor. They set everyone up - non-discriminately.

    The Ft. Worth episode however involved severe excess in violence and ridiculous allegations against the patrons. I stick to my belief that, although they may not have "targeted" the bar because it was a gay bar, they certainly mis-treated the patrons because they were gay.

  3. Regardless of whether the raid was because The Eagle was a gay establishment or not, any law enforcement agency that wears mask to hide their identity while executing a raid on employees and patrons that could at best be described as irritated (as opposed to armed and dangerous) reeks of imtimidation tactics, abuse of power, and big brother.

  4. Could not of happened to a better group of sodomites.Justice was served.Too bad the rainbow lounge wasnt squashed 40 years ago either.

  5. Correction Stonewall should have been crushed 40 years ago.