Charges finally dropped in Fort Worth bar raid
 

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posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48

Charges finally dropped in Fort Worth bar raid
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

More than a year after Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission agents and Fort Worth city police raided the Rainbow Lounge, charges have finally been dropped against two Gay men arrested in the raid.

Bar patrons Chad Gibson and George Armstrong were both injured in the raid. The Dallas/Ft. Worth LGBT community was outraged when officials formally charged the pair in February and indicated they would be brought to trial.

Gibson suffered a severe head injury while in police custody, and was hospitalized for a week after the raid. He had been charged with assaulting an officer and public intoxication.

Armstrong suffered a back injury and bruises while being arrested. He was charged with public intoxication.

The arresting officer and a second TABC agent involved in the raid were fired, along with their supervisor, after an internal investigation determined that agents should not have raided the bar in the first place.

A Fort Worth police investigation also found that police officers violated procedures, and three officers were suspended without pay as a result.

Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and Police Chief Jeff Halstead were both compelled to apologize to the community for the raid.

Adam Seidel, defense attorney for Gibson and Armstrong, said he received the news that charges had been dismissed on the afternoon of November 18 in a courtesy call from a court clerk.

'Their words early on were that serious mistakes were made by law enforcement and the city wanted to learn from those mistakes and move forward,' Seidel said. 'I guess finally the actions are matching the words.'

'I am glad they did the right thing and dropped their charges against these two victims. It shows a commitment to move forward,' Seidel added.

Misdemeanor charges against bar patrons Dylan Brown and Jose Macias were also dropped.

'I think they finally just realized that the facts of the case didn't support the charges,' Fairness Fort Worth president Tom Anable said. 'I think this is a real positive step forward. It's a show of good faith as we continue to resolve the issues related to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge.'

Fairness Fort Worth was formed in the wake of the raid, to help gather witnesses and organize public testimony about police actions at the scene.

Fort Worth court officials declined to comment on the reasons for dropping the charges.

'As it is our official policy not to discuss municipal court prosecutions or litigation, the city will have no further comment,' city spokesperson Jason Lamers said in a statement on November 19.



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