Fort Worth update: Police Chief compromises investigation
 

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posted Friday, July 3, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 27

Fort Worth update: Police Chief compromises investigation
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

As SGN goes to press, new details coming from Fort Worth challenge police claims that there will be a fair internal investigation of the June 28 raid on the Rainbow Lounge, a Gay bar in south Fort Worth, Texas.

Although Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead promised an internal affairs investigation of the incident, he has already endorsed the version of events reported by the arresting officers.

"You're touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that's offensive," he told WFAA-TV reporters. "I'm happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that."

Halstead's statement compromises his promised internal investigation of the affair because he himself will make the final decision on disciplining the officers involved.

According to Fort Worth police spokesperson Sgt. Pedro Criado, contacted by SGN on Tuesday, "it all ends up on the chief's desk."

The statement calls into question the chief's ability - or willingness - to make an objective disciplinary decision.

Meanwhile, many reputable witnesses have come forward to challenge the police version of events. They include Todd Camp, communications director with American Airlines Credit Union; Chuck Potter, a local HIV counselor; and Kyle Trentham, owner of a computer consulting company and event director for the local LGBT Film Festival.

All were at the Rainbow Lounge at the time of the raid, and all have stated publicly that police behaved in a brutal and intimidating manner. Camp witnessed the arrest of Chad Gibson, who remains hospitalized with a serious brain injury. His account of Gibson's arrest differs significantly from police accounts.

Gibson is expected to remain hospitalized for at least the rest of the week. His long-term prognosis remains unclear, pending consultations with a neurosurgeon.

Openly Gay City Council member Joel Burns, and Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks, who represents the district where Rainbow Lounge is located, have called for an independent City Council investigation.



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