The newly opened Rainbow Lounge was hosting a birthday celebration for Todd Camp, the founder of Q Cinema, and screening documentaries about the Stonewall Riots to commemorate the 40th anniversary of one of the defining moments in LGBT history. Witnesses say the police showed up with a paddy wagon and began to roughly arrest men, focusing mainly on "effeminate men."
One bar patron, Chad Gibson, is in a local hospitalwith a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage after being "choked, pulled back, then slammed into a wall" by police during the raid. Police say he was resisting arrest and made "sexual advances to officers", a claim witnesses dismiss as outright lies. They say Gibson, who weighed "maybe 160 pounds soaking wet", did not resist and merely stumbled when police grabbed him by the arm.
In total, seven people were arrested for public intoxication and at least a dozen more were restrained.
Video and more after the jump...
Not surprisingly, the raid has been met with outrage from both local leaders and the entire community across the country. Joel Burns, a Fort Worth city councilman and Tarrant County's first openly gay elected official, attended one of the rallies at the Tarrant County Court House protesting the raid and had this to say:
Rest assured that neither the people of Fort Worth nor the government of the city of Fort Worth will tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens.
Burns is also pushing for a full investigation into the raid. The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas also released a statement against the violent raid.
After more than a generation of progress, this action shows that there is still much work to be done to ensure that all Americans enjoy 'equal protection under the law.' It is tragic that lesbian and gay taxpayers are still abused by the very people who are paid by our taxes.
There is a FaceBook Group set up with ongoing information about the raid, first hand accounts, and organizing the protests in response to it.
All of this occurred on the exact date of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Raid and ensuing riots. The similarities are eerily similar- targeting a gay bar, the excessive violence used by officers, and the simmering outrage from the community.
It seems the more things change, the more the stay the same...
Protests are continuing to be organized in Fort Worth and more updates are expected as the news spreads. The local LGBT community has been checking on Chad Gibson in the hospital and reporting on his condition via Facebook.
Here's the video from CBS 11 News in Dallas about the raid: