FWPD: Gibson Had “Alcohol Poisoning,” Not A Severe Head Injury

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2009

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead spoke to reporters about Sunday morning’s raid on the Rainbow Lounge. Halstead denied that the raid was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, and condescendingly advised everyone to “take a deep breath.”

He also claimed that Chad Gibson was so drunk he was vomiting, exhibiting signs of “over-intoxication, possible alcohol poisoning.” Others officers pointed to the fact that after Gibson was slammed against the wall and thrown to the ground, he was unsteady and vomiting. This is very telling. According to the Merck Manual’s online entry regarding severe head injuries:

People may have some of the same symptoms as occur with minor head injury. Some, such as headache, may be more severe. Also, symptoms often start with a period of unconsciousness that begins at the time of impact. How long people remain unconscious varies. Some people awaken in seconds, while others do not awaken for hours or even days. On awakening, people often are drowsy, confused, restless, or agitated. They may also vomit, have seizures, or both. Balance and coordination may be impaired.

Doesn’t that sound like severe drunkenness if one were predisposed to assume it? Here’s how Chief Halstead described the situation:

The police statement said one patron was so drunk he was vomiting. Morgan said her brother threw up because of his head injury.

She also questioned police efforts to summon medical help. The time on Gibson\’s ticket for public intoxication is 2:10 a.m. An ambulance wasn\’t called until 2:25 a.m.

Club Manager Randy Norman said Gibson didn\’t seem drunk and was walking from the men\’s room, holding a bottle of water, when an officer pushed him against a wall and then pushed him to the ground. Some patrons said they heard Gibson ask the officer a question, but that he didn\’t fight back. At least three officers were involved in handcuffing him.

“The first question I heard was, ‘How much have you had to drink?\'” said Shane Wells, a dancer at the club. Gibson “said, ‘I don\’t have to answer that question\’ and they grabbed him and ran him against that little wall.\'”

Asked about Gibson\’s injury, Halstead said he could speak only about what is documented in the police report.

“In the police report, it was stated that he was handcuffed and he exhibited signs of over-intoxication, possible alcohol poisoning, and he fell face first,” Halstead said.

“If there\’s an eyewitness to the contrary, then that is exactly the person we want to come forward to the Police Department.”

Witnesses should contact the internal affairs division at 817-392-4270, he said.

As we’ve already documented, multiple witnesses have corroborated Shane Wells’ and Randy Norman’s descriptions of the officers’ assault on Gibson. Gibson remains hospitalized in Intensive Care with internal bleeding in the brain, which the Merck Manual would describe as a severe head injury, right down to its symptoms.

Richard W. Fitch

June 29th, 2009

Somebody needs to check the water in Fort Worth!! As I follow this thru several sources, I have become almost physically ill. Please keep us updated on Chad Gibson’s condition. It would be tragic for him to become a martyr, but heads should roll if it comes to that.

Lindoro Almaviva

June 29th, 2009

So now the bastard holds a medical degree? Amazing, he can tell when a person is drunk, even if that person has not had a drink, he can read minds and tell when a person has grabbed someone’s crotch, even if it has not happened yet, now he can do medical diagnosis.

Is there something this bastard can’t do?

I know, i know! Connect with reality.


June 29th, 2009

So where is the uproar by the Ft. Worth Gay community about this? Sounds like pure harrassment. What is being done about this? Something like this should not be tolerated. Contact the HRC to do something.


June 30th, 2009

Gibson went straight to hospital, not to the police station. While I don’t know much about the US system, I do know that in the UK anyone sent to A&E (E.R.) who is unconscious or semi-conscious gets a raft of blood tests that are then repeated periodically. When I was in hospital a few years back they took so much of my blood I began to wonder if the chief phlebotomist might have long teeth and an aversion to wooden stakes, garlic and sunlight. I would be extremely surprised if there were not samples of his blood that could be tested – assuming they haven’t been tested already. The problem, of course, is getting access to the test results; that depends quite heavily on how enlightened his parents are.

Lynn David

June 30th, 2009

Seems I saw a picture of Gibson or maybe it was someone else, but the welt on his head was rather nastily visible. It almost looked as if there were three radial cracks in the wound radiating from the centerpoint.

Jason D

June 30th, 2009

This is just insane. Why would you show up with a “paddy wagon” to an inspection?

And from the eyewitness accounts they seem to be “inspecting” the clientele, not the bar.

Sounds like these guys were arrested for “drinking while gay”

Christopher Waldrop

June 30th, 2009

As I read this story, a pretty obvious question kept coming to my mind. If, as Chief Halstead is claiming, Gibson had “alcohol poisoning”, how often does that result in internal bleeding?

Drinking large amounts of alcohol over a prolonged period can cause internal bleeding, but in the digestive tract, not the brain.

In addition to witnesses lining up at Halstead’s door a few doctors need to explain reality to him as well.

John Graykoski

June 30th, 2009

The police account of course smells to high heaven. I wonder who condoned it, since the City of Fort Worth (or at least its insurance company) is going to end up paying big time.
This is all so frustrating… in desperation I sent an email to the White House asking for an FBI investigation into civil rights violation. Probably won’t even be noticed, but at least it’s a way of responding.


June 30th, 2009

So how long until Focus on the Family and other hate groups start defending these assholes and treating every contradictory, unrealistic and unproven thing they say as infallible truth?

Ben in Oakland

June 30th, 2009

It reminds me of a scene in “The Naked Civil Servant”, where Quentin (then Denis) tells a group of potential gay bashers something to the effect of “You all better get out of here and go back to where you came from lest someone figures out that at least one of you is queer”.

I would like to know who ordered this raid aka “inspection”, whose idea it was, why a paddy wagon and a bunch of cops were requirements, when the “plan” was hatched, and best of all…

…what happened to this man (I’m betting) in the three or four days prior to the formulation of this plan.

Keep scratching at a homophobe, and the birhgt glitter of the phobe eventually wears off, leaving nothing but a homo.

paul j stein

June 30th, 2009

SUE them so they won’t be able to have a life, ever. Make examples out of them to discourage ANY behavior from other police departments. Mayor, Police chief, city managers should be open for liquidation of ALL available funds including pensions and joint monies of spouses. There are plenty of lawyers in the USA, someone will take it.

Stefano A

June 30th, 2009

Seems to me, given the extenuating circumstances, of Chad being seen in the ER that it’s well beyond time for the attending hospital and physician to issue an official statement regarding Chad Gibson’s injury.


June 30th, 2009

Theres a real simple answer to this… release his blood alcohol content when the hospital tested it as soon as he got there.

I hope the GLBT community in Fort Worth and Dallas is still picketing over this.


June 30th, 2009

I sure hope that LamdaLegal is on top of this as well as other groups we support. This cannot be tolerated. If public intoxication is the reason for this raid,then there had better be toxicology reports, and the level of intoxication had better be way up there! They also need to compare the results with the other raids and arrestees from the other bars from the passed few months. And why wouldn’t the police department not be aware of Stonewall’s 40th Aniversary. There’s a community disconnect from the police department!

Christopher Waldrop

June 30th, 2009

This has not been confirmed, but I read this on another blog:

Fort Worth Police are having a Community Forum today, June 30th at 7 PM located at New Beginnings International Church.
2000 E Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX – (817) 492-8540

If it’s true, everyone who can should attend and make sure the police don’t use dishonesty and scare tactics to claim that it was the victims’ fault.

Richard W. Fitch

June 30th, 2009

Chris W: It is a correct item. It appears on FWPD’s own website. The LGBT community needs to be present with a raft of questions.

Ralph Wiggum

July 1st, 2009

I love the police inviting contrarian witnesses to come forward. I envision them slamming that witness up against a wall while screaming ‘now does that help your memory?”


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