The Ft. Worth Police Department Has A Gay Panic Problem

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2009

Ft. Worth police have issued a press release (Word Doc: 34KB/2 pages) blaming club patrons for police officers’ excessive show of force during Sunday morning’s raid on the Rainbow Lounge on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. The cops are raising their own version of the “gay panic” defense, claiming that two patrons made “sexually explicit movements” and another “grabbed the [Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission] agent’s groin.”

People on the scene find those charges incredible. Todd Camp, a former Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reporter who was at the bar, said, “No one was acting aggressive to officers.” Another eyewitness, Chuch Potter, told a local CBS affiliate, “I can guarantee there wasn’t a man in this bar that would’ve touched one of those officers, knowing they were arresting people.”

Even straight people at the Fort Worth Weekly find the police department’s shrieking sex-crazed-zombie-homos excuse unbelievable. Straight guy Jeff Prince was working on a story that took him to another gay bar a few years ago, and steeled himself against the guaranteed out of control lecherous onslaught that awaited him:

As I sat there, I kept figuring one of these guys would hit on me. I was going to politely explain to them that I wasn\’t that way. Except nobody paid any attention to me. For 10 or 15 minutes not a single person spoke to me or approached me. I was relieved and offended at the same time. What am I chopped liver?

Another straight dude Weeklyteer Dan McGraw did a cover story called “Waking Up the Rainbow” in 2005 about gay politics in Fort Worth and spent several nights incognito at a gay bar called Best Friends. He had a similar experience of being ignored. “It was like hanging out at any other bar,” he said. “Most of the guys had been married before and had kids.”

For some reason, however, Fort Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers went into a gay bar on Saturday night and the patrons allegedly became fraught with horn and damn near raped our boys in blue.

City councilwoman Kathleen Hicks says she’s disturbed by the raid. She joins openly gay councilman Joel Burns in calling for an investigation into the raid that resulted in seven arrests and sent one man to the hospital with a critical brain injury.

Ben in Oakland

June 29th, 2009

Even when I was young and hot, or even not so young and hot, I don’t think I was ever groped in a gay bas but once– and that was by a guy I had been talking to for an hour.

Gay panic is exactly what it sounds like, with about as much truth value.

I hope there is a massive lawsuit by the victims of this raid.


June 29th, 2009

Yup. They are wrong and won’t admit it. I know when I’m wrong and admit it.

“If I have to eat crow, it’s better fresh.”

Did someone else say that or can I claim it as my own?

Thanks, Jim.

ps. What were our police doing there in the first place? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!

David Roberts

June 29th, 2009

I can’t find the article which is referenced (Yahoo News takes them down quickly it seems), but this random blog post seems to indicate that there is at least some history of this sort of "sting" operation in Texas. The post is from 2006 and appears to be unrelated to GLBT issues.
It also appears that the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission do call themselves "State Police," so it is reasonable to suspect that they were the ones wearing uniforms bearing that title. The stories about being groped by patrons or even flirted with sound oh so bogus. I’m sure that was the last thing on anyone’s mind after a bunch of cops came busting in with an attitude.
So that they did the "raid" may be defensible in the long run (if they indeed are doing this all over), even if incredibly insensitive considering the date, but I suspect it was also an excuse for these officers to be bullies.


June 29th, 2009

This story just gets sicker and sicker. They police who carried out this attack are a bunch of Ft. Worth thugs.

Arthur Corbin

June 29th, 2009

To fully understand the open-ended nature of liquor laws in Texas, peruse the Peace Officers Guide from TABAC at

You will note that inspections do not require notice or process. Any peace officer can inspect at will. There is no clear definition of observe.

And (my favorite) is the Appendix III, Special Programs Available from TABAC, see Cops in Shops and COPS which are gussied up terms for entrapment.

The ACLU will have a field day with this information.

Fast and loose in Texas. Final item is a direct quote
Sec. 104.01. LEWD, IMMORAL, INDECENT CONDUCT. No person authorized to sell beer at retail, nor his agent, servant, or employee, may engage in or permit conduct on the premises of the retailer which is lewd, immoral, or offensive to public decency, including,(there is more)

Joe McCarthy returns. “offensive to the public decency,” the raid is offensive to the public decency.


June 30th, 2009

Until we collectively, as an entire nation, stand up and let it be known this is no longer acceptable, the status quo will never change.

March on Washington in October. Let them SEE how many of us there are. Tell this country we are not going to take this treatment any more.

Christopher Waldrop

June 30th, 2009

Last night I heard that, among other things, the cops said in their “defense” that they’d “inspected” three other bars prior to going to the Rainbow Bar. Even if it’s true–even if they were conducting routine inspections–that doesn’t begin to justify their behavior.

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