Hundreds gathered in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend to protest a brutal police raid on a gay bar on Jun 28 — the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.
Early Sunday morning, police entered Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge and arrested seven for “public intoxication” during what they say was a routine inspection.
But patrons and staff at the bar say police used excessive and brutal force.
Todd Camp, who witnessed the raid, told the Dallas Voice that the circumstances “strongly suggest” that police targeted the recently-opened gay and lesbian bar for “selective enforcement and harassment.”
One man is in intensive care after being thrown to the ground by police, reports the Dallas Voice. Chris Gibson has blood clots near his brain and may need surgery.
Police issued a press release on Jun 29, alleging that some patrons had sexually assaulted the officers. The release claims that one patron grabbed an officer’s groin.
Those who were at the bar during Sunday’s raid say those allegations are untrue.
“The groping of the police officer — really? We’re gay, but we’re not dumb,” Rainbow Lounge owner JR Schrock told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“The allegations of assault, groping, and resisting arrest were complete fabrications,” wrote Alison Egert on Facebook. “Men parted like the red sea wherever the police were. No one was groping them.”
On Sunday, between 150 and 200 people rallied in protest outside the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth
Shane Wells posted his firsthand account of the police raid on the Rainbow Lounge Raid Facebook group. An excerpt of his account is below:
“I was one of the dance entertainers last night at Rainbow Lounge. I was dancing on a box in the VIP lounge and was looking right at the first guy who was arrested. The male patron was standing at the bar doing nothing but having a having a drink and a fun time (like people do in bars) when an officer entered that section of the club and made a beeline straight towards him. The officer forcefully spun the man around, shoved him against the bar and placed plastic restraints on his wrists. The officer then marched the man out the club. The guy was stunned and obviously really scared.”
Read more firsthand accounts and stay-in-the-loop by joining the Rainbow Lounge Raid Facebook group: