40 years later

SHOCK: Fort Worth Stages Its Own Stonewall-Style Gay Bar Raid


Let’s be clear: When police raided a new gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, early Sunday morning, they were not commemorating the 40 year anniversary of Stonewall. They were defacing it.

An apparent target of the the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Rainbow Lounge was raided by police Stonewall-style, supposedly because bartenders were “overserving” customers. And because gays just can’t do anything in life without making it sexual, police even say at least one patron “groped” an officer during the raid.

In all, seven people were arrested for public intoxication and many more detained — one account says police “only arrested men and seemed to be targeting effeminate men.” Adds Raymond Gill, who was at the bar: “I asked him why I was pulled outside. He stated it was because the way I was walking. He said I looked like I was drunk. But as I stated, I got to the bar 30 minutes before they got there. I sat down had not got up before police got there. No one saw me walk.”


And just like Stonewall, the gays aren’t letting this one go. Hours after the raid, on Sunday night an estimated 200 people gathered on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse, with gay City Councilman Joel Burns leading the protest of the trumped up charges. Rainbow Lounge’s owner J.R. Schrock says claims his patrons groped an officer are ludicrous. (Photos here.)

What’s more, the arrests didn’t go down without incident, either: A one Chad Gibson “was knocked unconscious and is now hospitalized with a brain injury.” One account says he did not resist arrest, but “did stumble after the first officer grabbed his arm.”

UPDATE: CBS 11 reports:

In the meantime, Gay Inc. organizations like HRC, GLAAD, and NGLTF remain silent on the matter.

(Photo: Dallas Voice)

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  • Eric

    A staged re-enactment of Stonewall for educational purposes is probably too much to hope for, isn’t it?

  • dellisonly

    Time to get your facts straight. 651 South Jennings in Fort Worth has been a gay bar for quite some time. New ownership and a remodel do not change what it has always been. Fort Worth’s finest wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. The TABC raid had more to do with underage dancers than it did to do with ‘over serving’. Everything that happened after the initial age check was all FWPD. Not the most tolerant bunch and let’s face it they will most likely only get a slap on the wrist.

  • Pro Police

    Let’s be clear: the police involved in arresting obviously drunk individuals in the Rainbow Lounge had no idea that it was the anniversary of something that happened 40 years ago. They were simply doing their job, as they do every other day of the week. And let’s be clear on this, too: the owner of the Rainbow Lounge knew the police were going to be there that night and still allowed his bartenders to continue serving drunk customers.

  • homofied

    My hubby and I have made a point of checking out every gay bar in America. We’ve gotten so good at it that often we can just arrive in a town and figure it out by swinging through the telltale neighborhoods “reading” the clubs till we espy the gay one. This bar was no exception. It is a funny little bar just off downtown in the vein of classic smaller-town gay bars — everyone goes there, because its a place where you can sit and get drunk, or smooch, or play pool or watch video’s and not have to look over your shoulder. Its in a slightly seedy area (or was when we were there). If the Fort Worth police have nothing better to do than raid that bar, then they are derelict. The joint is about as harmless as a gay bar can be.

  • puck247

    I’m from Fort Worth and go there once a year. There are two other gay bars in walking distance from Rainbow Lounge. I’ve never heard of anything like a raid happening to the other bars and trust, there’s a whole lot of drinking going on and there is usually heavy cop presence in that area due to it being a poor neighborhood (although not for long due to increased gentrification and Starbucks). Hell, when Magnolia Station (another bar in that area) was open, a Fort Worth cop in full uniform was the bouncer. There is definitely something else at work here. I’m not saying this is a calculated play for free publicity. I’m thinking old school payoffs and back room handshakes. Fort Worth is a town that will smile in your face, and stab you in the back with a chainsaw

  • Pro police but more pro gay

    Lots of things shady here, and yes we all respect
    the cops who keep us safe.

    Other establishments in the area were checked thst same
    night reportedly with 1 FWPD & 1 ABC officer. The
    gaybar, with a namechanfe and open 1 week, was raided
    with 6 FWPD and 6 ABC officers

    pics show the police with “State Police” written on
    their uniforms. Texas doesn’t have a state police force.

    There are already 1st hand accounts from dancers and
    who all dressed and left without police interference.
    First hand accounts from patrons: some admitted to the
    police they were intoxicated and were ignored, others
    report patrons being grabbed from behind and thrown down.

    If the police were simply doing a check why show up with a paddy
    wagon and have an ample supply of plastic wrist ties. Police do that
    when they’re expecting mass arrests.

    Add all that to already condemning statements from Fort Worth
    city council and police administration already looking investigating.

  • rick

    public drunkeness in a bar, a bar in texas. yep that makes a whole lot of sense.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    Yea, but Human Relations Board is investigating. I think the District Attorney of Tarrant County should be investigating. The police officers and TABC.

    The probable cause given for the raid was apparently ‘a disgruntled former employee’. For a bar that had been open ONE WEEK?

    As far as the offensive comments by FWPD about groin grabbing. One of two things should happen. There should be an arrest and conviction of the person doing so. If the DA can’t get a conviction, the Police Officer should be FIRED for cause (e.g., losing his pension, etc.) for making a false statement.

  • schlukitz

    It’s Texas, for crying out loud, where you can’t even buy or sell a sex toy without being arrested.

  • strumpetwindsock

    They changed that law in the last year or so, but I take your point.

  • puck247

    This happens everywhere. Don’t pinhole this incident by the “it’s Texas” blanket. Go one hour outside New York and tell me the score. Don’t get me wrong, I moved from Texas 20 years ago and never looked back because of Harper Valley hipocrites. But I learned the hard way that living in a bubble is just that. Very thin, misleading, and fragile.

  • John Santos

    @Pro Police:

    And let’s be clear on this, too: the owner of the Rainbow Lounge knew the police were going to be there that night and still allowed his bartenders to continue serving drunk customers.


  • michael

    @puck247: No, it does not happen everywhere. Don’t try to deflect the shame of being of the most hateful bigoted states in the country by saying this happens everywhere. The very fact that the police came in there on the anniversary of Stonewall shows either complete and utter ignorance of history or their grand wizard thought it would be fun to show some faggs whose running the show. Texas is the land of big haired women, big mouthed men, creepy, freak show religions and poorly educated citizens. It is in the same class of states like Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, where gays have no rights whatsoever. And let us not forget it gave us one of the most stupid, egotistical, “hick” presidents that the U.S. has ever known, a president that all but destroyed this country.

  • marcus

    My partner was offered a job making over 400k a yr and loads of perks. About 40% higher than he was earning at the time. The job was in Houston. When he asked me about whether we should go for it I told him that life was to short and that I would rather slam my dick in a door than to live in that state. I have never regretted that decision we made. You can have the confederacy, that entire part of the country is a lost cause.

  • Tony

    This was clearly intentionally symbolic. It was the Texan way of saying “You gays may have think you are human in some other parts of the world, but in Texas, you ain’t shit.” It is sort of their version of Obama’s “God is in the mix.” statement. One eff you from Texas, and many from Obama.

  • Tony

    Oh and the religtards know the date of the uprising at Stonewall, so these retarded simple minded Texas cops probably were informed, in one syllable words the reason busting this place on this particular day would have a great anti-gay impact.

    Texas Suxass.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @marcus: Houston isn’t bad at all. We get along fine with the police and are about to elect an openly Lesbian Mayor. And I’ve lived in New York, San Diego, and Europe. Texas is not a monolith. And Houston is a wonderful place to live.

    There is a very nice man in Fort Worth who is openly Gay, who just got elected to the city council there. He apperently has his work cut out for him. The police force there is extremely homophobic and unresponsive to the needs of the LGBT community from my experience

    I remember going to a Gay rights protest in Fort Worth back in 2000 during the Texas State GOP convention. We had the permit, but when angry anti-Gay GOP delegates and vicious homophobes from the styx showed up, they were allowed to be as harrassing and go up to(and in my opinion – past)the level of violence without interference. Some of the anti-Gays were phyisically jostling our group. The FWPD did nothing but sat on their butts.

  • Not Pro Police

    @John Santos:

    On Thursday evening, June 6, 2009, a TABC Agent entered into NPD2 and teamed up with a patrol officer in order to conduct alcoholic beverage code inspections of area clubs. While they were out, they performed these inspections into the Friday morning hours. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Thursday evening, they stopped by the Rainbow Lounge located at 651 S. Jennings in anticipation of conducting an inspection as this club is newly opened and has not received an inspection before this date. While waiting on the supervisor to arrive, which is standard operating procedure, the owner of the Rainbow Lounge approached the officers asked if there was a problem. The TABC agent explained they were waiting on a patrol supervisor to make the scene before conducting an inspection of his establishment. An inspection at the Rainbow Lounge was not conducted on this date (Friday). Other locations, however, were inspected as a continuing effort to educate and enforce over serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals.

    On Saturday morning, June 27, 2009, a person identifying himself as the owner of the Rainbow Lounge called the local police station and spoke with a supervisor to ascertain if there was a problem at the Rainbow Lounge. At approximately 3:30 p.m., a Fort Worth Police sergeant spoke with the owner of the Rainbow Lounge and explained they were conducting alcoholic beverage code inspections in the area. The owner advised the sergeant officers were welcome anytime to conduct an inspection of his establishment. The sergeant advised the owner of the Rainbow Lounge that officers would return to the area this evening to continue inspections and would inspect his establishment.

  • Jake the libertarian

    @Pro Police:

    Lets be MORE CLEAR: It is NEVER ok for the government to take people who are acting peaceably in a private location and use force against them. This is assault. I don’t really give a shit of the brown shirts who assaulted them are police officers or not.

    I also don’t really give a damn about over serving. If there is such a practice going on, then police need to investigate and issue proper citations. Busting in a place with billy clubs blazing to fuck with the local faggots is wrong. Hiding behind the law to do it is just pussified wrong.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Pro Police:

    So why did the Police show up without breathalizers? If youre testing and arresting people for being drunk, shouldn’t you have them with you? And then let all the women go (even those that said that they were drunk). And then lie about what the patrons were doing? Then lie about the reason for the inspection (orignally they stated it was because of a disgruntled former employee even though the bar has been open for a WEEK). That wasn’t an inspection, that was a raid.

    They forgot the breathalizers but brought billy clubs. I don’t hate all police, but the FWPD has some real problems.

  • Bill Perdue

    Its not shocking at all Queerty and it can be blamed on the deepening and very public hostility of Obama’s administration to the GLBT communities. From “gawd’s in the mix” to comparing us to pederasts it hasn’t gone unnoticed. That hostility coupled with his endorsement of rabid bigots like Warren sends a clear signal.

    It tells uniformed bigots and thugs that’s it open season on the GLBT communities. It tells street thugs that its open season for harassment, intimidation and violence.

    This police attack will have to be met with legal challenges claiming damages for false arrest and bigotry under cover of a badge and by demonstrations and protests. Otherwise there will be more of the same. Local officials should be asked to condemn it.

    Those who advocated voting for Obama really did us no favors. What they really should be doing is examining their theory that the Democrats can be reformed. It’s absurd. But here’s a test of that theory. All those friends of Obama should demand that he issue a statement critical of this attack. Demand a DOJ/FBI investigation of the bigots who run the FWPD.

    Let us know how that works.

    What we should all be doing is approaching celebrities, politicians and cult leaders to get statements critical of this attack and passing them on to our folks in FW.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Pro police but more pro gay: You cannot be pro-LGBT and pro-cop.

    You can be one or the other. That won’t change until every bigot, union buster, misogynist and racist is fired from every police force in the country. Good luck with that.

  • galefan2004

    @puck247: I don’t know about that. The bar I went to in Akron, Ohio, was owned by a guy that was so connected in the community and spent so much money in the community that even when there was a murder in the parking lot it was hushed up as soon as the police got there.

  • galefan2004

    @Jake the libertarian: While I personally agree with you, the law in Ohio doesn’t. If the law in Ohio doesn’t then I can only imagine what the law in Texas says.

  • Jake the libertarian

    @ GALEFAN2004

    I am not aware of any state that allows police to use unnecessary force. I know they will claim that the force they used was necessary, but we all know that the raid itself was unnecessary.

    A responsible DA and police brass would approve an investigation of club management and arrest not during business hours if illigal activity was found. No responsible police brass or court officer that I am aware of would have authorized such a violent raid of people who were no threat to anyone. The attacked unarmed and otherwise law abiding citizens. That is not the USA I know and love.

  • galefan2004

    @Jake the libertarian: I was talking more about the lines of entering a public place and using force when needed. I didn’t mean to imply that the police can use unnecessary force. However, I am sure they will claim that it was necessary (like you said).

    Bar raids are perfectly legal assuming there is no force used. There was a bar raid at another bar in Akron during the time I was going to the bar I talked about. The bar in question let a woman leave without settling her tab (leaving an open tab at a bar in Ohio is illegal). That woman then went got killed on the way home from the bar. They raided that bar during business hours and shut it down indefinitely. The bar had to change ownership, management, and the name in order to open back up.

  • Mark in Colorado

    If you remove the racist, anti-gay, and misogynist element from every police department in the U.S., then you’re likely going to end up with maybe 5 officers in each on average.

    Remember we’re talking about Tex-Ass, not really a burgeoning place of enlightenment.

  • Jay Pat

    woah, you can get arrested for being drunk in a bar? ….wow.

  • niles

    Let this serve as a history lesson for all you young whippersnappers: raids like this (and worse) were a normal occurrence in gay bars across the country 30 or 40 years ago.

  • Jake the libertarian

    @ GALEFAN2004

    If I were their attorney, I would argue that the raid itself was unnecessary force. While it might be curent policy in many police departments around the country to perform such raids, they are almost always under the guise of catching drug dealers. There are usually tapes and undercover buys taking place and a raid takes place to catch the suspect in the act of committing a crime.

    For this level of force to be used against a private business, I would demand to see cause for the raid. If the FWPD can’t show convincing cause for such a raid, they open themselves up to a lawsuit. The officers who issued the order to raid the club open themselves up to internal discipline.

    The fact that needs to be argued is that while local ordnances may have been violated there was no reson to charge into the club causing reasonable people to attempt to defend themselves against assault. Now being defined as “resisting arrest”. If police were concerned that the club was not following local and state alcohol laws there are many ways to go after them. None of those ways involve beating up and aresting the patrons.

  • paul-e-wog

    @schlukitz: You can purchase sex toys in Texas. On February 28, 2008, a federal appeals court overruled a statute outlawing sex toy sales. Butt plug anyone?

    I like to think I’m changing the state from the inside-out by living here. This state is progressing, albeit at a glacial pace.

  • Rudy

    Oh, poor little policeman – an evil gay man groped him – BWAAAAA!
    Talk about appealing to red state homophobia when a bunch of gay men stand up to your shit.
    This really is forty years ago.

  • puck247

    @michael: Wasn’t Bush born in Massachusetts? Ugh, I’m bored.

  • The New Anarchist

    Texas police departments aren’t made up of the most enlightened folk in the world. They don’t know much but they know where their hatred lies.

    Most of these guys hate gays and don’t even know why. I hope there’s a thorough investigation.

    And Obama only backs civil rights when it suits his agenda. He’s a politician. He won’t back gay rights (including marriage) unless he’s sure it won’t mess up his polling.

  • Stu

    @Pro Police:

    Hey, look, it’s someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about! Hump the leg of the PD a little harder, please.

Comments are closed.