Friday, July 17, 2009

TABC Chief Apologizes for Texas LGBT Bar Raid, Says, "[We] Shouldn't Have Been There."

In an interview with the Dallas Voice, Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission Administrator Alan Steen apologized for the raid on the Fort Worth LGBT bar Rainbow Lounge.

“I don’t think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies,” Steen said. “We know that, and I apologize for that."

On top of the apology, Steen informed that the supervisor of the two TABC agents present at the raid (the rest were Forth Worth police men) had retired last week while an internal investigation is ongoing. The two agents have been put on desk duty.

Steen went on to say that he didn't believe there was sufficient cause for the inspection, despite the fact a man had been arrested for public intoxication at the bar two days earlier, and that the officers should have been wearing plainclothes as is custom, and that along with the paddy wagon, it constituted excessive show of force.

“You can read that policy and you can figure out really quickly, TABC shouldn’t have even been there,” Steen said. “If our guys would have followed the damn policy, we wouldn’t even have been there. … We have these conversations all the time, and we don’t participate in those kinds of inspections when there’s not probable cause or reasonable suspicion or some public safety matter to be inspected.”

Steen is interested in an LGBT liaison for the TABC and said he'll have to be creative in how to pay for the position.

He said he will announce the results of the internal investigation when they're available and that he went to the Dallas Voice to the keep the LGBT community updated.

“I just think the people of Fort Worth deserve to know that we’re very interested in this and very diligently working to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

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