Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Attorney to Investigate Rainbow Lounge Bar Raid

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Fort Worth city council requested a federal investigation into the bar raid of the Rainbow Lounge, an LGBT bar that was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall at the time of the raid, which resulted in one of the patrons receiving a severe head injury.

The Dallas U.S. Attorney General's office has agreed to take on the case, and it will be the fourth investigation.

"The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating the conduct of two of its officers, and the Fort Worth Police Department has launched two parallel probes – one by the internal affairs department and one by the major case unit," reports the Dallas Morning News.

Forth Worth officials also released files on the personnel involved in the raid.
At least one of the officers involved in the raid has a documented history of misconduct, according to the records. Officer Jason R. Ricks, 32, was disciplined multiple times in 2006.

In the most serious case, New Braunfels police arrested him on an assault charge in July of that year after he punched a bus driver in the face during a fight, the records show. Ricks was off-duty and had been drinking for a few hours, he told investigators.

The charges were later dropped, but one of Ricks' supervisors, Captain W.A. Read, wrote in a September 2006 letter to a deputy chief that Ricks had "shown a history of poor decisions and bad judgment."

"I have to ask myself, when will this officer mature to the level that is required of him and can we afford to allow him to keep making bad decisions that can affect the department and the community," Read wrote. He added that a lieutenant "has put forth a valid argument that Officer Ricks does not show the maturity level that is required of a Fort Worth police officer."
WFFA says that, "Ricks, however, had little involvement in the Rainbow Lounge raid; he was assigned to stay with a van of previously-arrested suspects."

"Fort Worth has yet to release the files of the supervisor and one other officer involved in the raid," reports WFFA. "The wrong files for those men were released on Tuesday."

See WFFA news report.

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