Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fort Worth Police Chief Officially Apologizes for Rainbow Lounge Raid and Has Revised Policy

On Tuesday, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead, in front of the Fort Worth City Council, cited “flawed policies within the police department" for the problems stemming from the June 28 raid of the LGBT nightclub Rainbow Lounge. Seven people were arrested and patron Chad Gibson suffered a head injury which led to a week's stay in the hospital. The story became national news and was met with local protests.

“On today’s progress report, I am apologizing for the actions and the reflection that this gave our community,” said Halstead. “This resulted from flawed policy within the police department.”

He said a revised policy should be in place by Sept. 1 with rules for a three tiered-system: bar checks, inspections and investigations.

“Once the policy is complete, we’re never going to come here again,” he said after giving his preliminary report on the investigation into the raid. “We are recovering from this, and I’m very proud of that.”

The Fort Worth Police Department has endeavored to mend relations with the LGBT community by hiring a liaison and having meetings.

Halstead informed the city council that he has learned that his police department led the bar raid, not the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), which is contrary to what was earlier reported.

A separate TABC investigation cited three agents violating policies. Two have been relegated to desk duty and the supervisor has resigned. They face disciplinary action.

Halstead's investigation faces a December 28 deadline, though it is expected to be completed in September or October.

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