Since June 28, local and national media outlets have been reporting on the raid that took place at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas by 6 police officers, a supervisor and two commission agents. The gay community of Forth Worth raised their voices and protested the actions that took place that night.
On July 14, Fort Worth City Council had its first meeting since the raid. The group Fairness Fort Worth contacted the city manager’s office to ensure citizen concerns about the event would be heard. At that meeting, attended by about 500 people, the Mayor of Forth Worth apologized for the violence that took place during the raid. The Fort Worth Police Chief announced the appointment of an officer as liaison to the city’s LGBT community.
In an exclusive interview, on July 16, with the Dallas Voice, the administrator of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (Alan Steen) apologized for what he called the improper raid of the Rainbow Lounge.
Steen admitted that TABC violated some of its policies and stated that the sergeant who approved the raid has announced retirement. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission effectively shut down its program known as Sales to Intoxicated Persons (or SIP). After the raid of the Rainbow Lounge, these operations are only for establishments with a clear record of violations.
Jon Nelson, spokesperson for Fairness Fort Worth, commented on the Fort Worth Star Telegram about the TABC administrators comments:
He didn’t mince any words. He gave that interview to a gay newspaper, and that was by design. I think he wanted to send a message that he personally was concerned about what happened. Do I think the reason it took place was an overriding sense of homophobia? Gosh, no; I want to think better of people than that. I hope it was just a case of industrial-strength stupidity. But how can you ensure these things were the exception unless you can determine what the reason for the inspection was?
According to a report by Austin’s American Statesman the excessive force used by officials in the Rainbow Lounge is not an isolated case.
GLAAD has been monitoring the media coverage of the raid and has been in communication with Fairness Fort Worth assisting with the media efforts.
Take action and keep us posted of any media defamation you see in the reporting of the Rainbow Lounge raid.