While the Ft. Worth Police tries to find reasons to excuse the violent behavior that ensued during a raid on the Rainbow Lounge, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is finally owning up.
The TABC, which teamed with FWPD to conduct a series of raids on June 28, admits wrongdoing. The commission’s administrator, Alan Steen, says his agents committed “clear violations” of policy, which resulted in, among other things, Chad Gibson’s extended hospital stay with a brain injury.
And that’s not all: The supervisor overseeing the raids that night … has resigned. Last week he left TABC (voluntarily or under pressure, who knows) as an internal investigation mounts.
The two TABC agents, who joined six cops on the raid, sought approval for the inspection from the supervisor; Steen says approval never should have been granted because there wasn’t sufficient cause for suspicion. (What, you mean spotting a drunk guy coming out of Rainbow Lounge two days before doesn’t count?) The twosome remain on desk duty.
Says Steen in an interview with the Dallas Voice, which he initiated: “I don’t think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies. We know that, and I apologize for that. Like I said in my original press release, we have in the past and we will in the future act very swiftly in making sure that those issues are corrected. It’s real clear that however it is that we were doing business that night is not the typical TABC. … I have good policy in place, I have good training in place, and I have good supervision in place to ensure that things like this don’t happen. … You can read that policy and you can figure out really quickly, TABC shouldn’t have even been there. … 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.”
He’s also “very, very interested in and committed to” creating a liaison post between the TABC and the gay community.
Steen’s words do a number of things. First, it’s a giant “we’re sorry.” It’s what the local gay community has been demanding — of the no-strings variety. Second, it’s a message that the TABC knows this is a serious issue, and wants to make good. It also did so by pushing out the supervisor in charge of the raid, and by committing to an open dialogue with The Gays. And third, and perhaps most importantly, it throws the Ft. Worth Police Department’s litany of excuses under the bus. One the night of June 28, the authorities violated standard procedure, committed gross acts of negligence and violence, and need to own it.