A blog post this morning on the Dallas Voice Blog page on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. People were arrested for "Public Intoxication".
This story is now breaking on facebook, with an apparent protest planned for today (location and time still not clearly determined). I have had a brief IM with a reporter who is working on the story, so the event did occur.
The posts on the Dallas voice page are verified to be from a reporter from the Voice, so while they may be a bit "first person-ish", they are from a reporter.
Information as I can compile it below the fold.
This information was just culled from the Dallas Voice blog page. The only reply I see so far on that blog says in part:
I don’t know what went down once the police got inside, I was lucky that I was leaving at the exact moment that the first agent was walking in the door, but they already had the outside door person up against the wall in cuffs, and the building surrounded with cars.
Arresting people in a bar for Public Intoxication seems strange, and doing it on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall seems like they are trying to spark another Stonewall.
This is the only site I have been able to find any news about this raid. I will be updating this; this may be a misunderstanding or a setup. As I find out more news today I will be updating this dairy.
I am keeping this a draft for now until I get at least 1 confirmation on the story, or until the Dallas Voice moves it from a blog entry to their "breaking" page.
There is now a Facebook Group* discussing the raid (* I don't know if non-facebook users can read that link). The summary of the group:
Last night around 1 a.m., on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the Fort Worth Police Department raided the Rainbow Lounge and began randomly handcuffing and arresting patrons and shoving anyone who dared to ask why. It was a sobering reminder that on this pinnacle date in the history of gay rights, we still have a very long way to go. I created this group to give folks a chance to discuss it, share stories, pictures, etc.
Pictures of police arresting people at the Lounge are posted there. There are rumors of a protest being organized for today. However at this time the location and time are fuzzy (the facebook page says both the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, and the Crossroads in Oaklawn (the Crossroads is the middle of the Dallas gay area), and times from 3:00 to 5:00 pm today (CDT). If I hear of a firm location and time I will update here.
This is very frustrating to me. The idea of raiding a bar to handcuff people for PI is startling, the fact that they hit a gay bar on the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall is chilling.
Comments posted by a dancer at the bar. Again, this is from a post on the Dallas Voice blog page. I am still trying to get stronger confirmation from a verifiable source than blog postings and responses.
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 that 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.
I then noticed another officer in the VIP section and several other officers filtering into the club. I made the decision at that point to go ahead and get dressed in case they were going to start arresting everyone in the entire place.
When I got inside the dressing room there were other dancers already in there getting dressed. They were panicing and saying that this is not something they have ever had to deal dancing in Dallas.
I got dressed and walked out the door and saw that several more officers had made their way into the club. I went into sort of a surreal haze at that moment. I was so disturbed and saddened because it occured to me in that moment that being after midnight, it was actually the exact same day as the Stonewall Riots. I just couldn’t believe what was happening.
I was still standing near the entrance to the VIP lounge with a friend when an officer approached a man standing there. The man had water in his hand. The officer asked him how much he had had to drink and the man said that he didn’t have to answer that. The officer then said that he was going to arrest him for public intoxication. The man said,"You can’t do that I am just standing here right now drinking water." At the time the officer shoved the man over towards the wall near the dressing room and then back to the rear wall near the men’s restroom, then down onto the floor. Several other officers, made their way back there to hold that ONE MAN down on the ground as they placed restraints on him. At the time I noticed that all of them did not have FWPD uniforms on. Some of them were actually State Police.
UPDATE #2: From the Facebook group page.
Here are the official protest times and locations:
3 p.m. Meet at the Crossroads to make signs and plan.
5 p.m Meet at Rainbow Lounge for first part of the protest.
7 p.m. Meet at Tarrant County Courthouse, 100 E. Weatherford at the end of Main Street.
Still no independent verification, though more and more people are chiming in on the blog that it it happened, with more pics from their phones.
UPDATE #3: I have had a brief IM with a reporter who is at the jail interviewing people who were arrested this morning. This verifies that the bar was raided, though all the details we have are via first-person account.
From comments below and on facebook, I have gleamed the following. Note that some of these are contradictory:
It is now legal for police to arrest people in bars for Public Intoxication. They have been doing that regularly in Fort Worth of late.
There was a detainee transportation vehicle* (changed from a term someone found offensive) and "State Police" in the raid, which implies it was a planned raid, not a random stop. (Note: there are no actual "state police", so it was probably actually the TABC).
A anonymous call complained of a sexual assault at or near the bar which triggered the raid.
Here's a link to all blogs today at the Dallas Voice Bog page. All blogs today are concerning the raid, all posted by Tammye Nash with comments by others. Nash is a reporter for the Dallas Voice.
Rec list. Thanks guys. It's a first for me.
As noted below, since January the TABC can raid bars looking for "public intoxication", this is supposedly an effort to prevent drunken driving and public drunkenness. Info provided by BrowniesAreGood.
Several bars in Irving, TX were raided earlier this year under this statute, and such sweeps have continued throughout Texas.
However, it certainly seems that the anecdotal testimony is of police arresting individuals who were drinking water, or who simply catcalled the police, or who called them "Homophobes". Again, the treatment of the patrons (zip-cuffing them on the ground) on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots) seems completely over the top.
I hope to have some links to the protests taking place in Fort Worth this evening.
A KOSer reports that I have it all wrong. The police were lewdly approached by like totally drunk dudes, who they had to forcibly subdue and arrest. One man is in the hospital with a head injury he sustained from being such a total cop-groping drunk.
Personally I think it's police covering their ass. The several eye-witness reports from patrons on the Dallas Voice directly conflict with the police; I tend to side with them. Perhaps cameras in the bar will show a clearer picture, I don't know if the bar had a camera running at the time (I believe many to have a camera feed for security reasons nowadays).
I have tried to be even-handed with this diary. I withheld publishing until I got corroboration from a reporter, and the eye-witness accounts point to at least individual homophobic acts by the police. I updated with counter-claims that this is business as usual by TABC. I didn't push them hard because that's not my issue. If you want to push that, I would gladly rec your diary. I am disappointed by the idea expressed by some that the event shouldn't be shared in a diary, and that information about the follow-up protest wasn't worth sharing.
MINI-UPDATE: I very briefly has some rude comments to another KOSer here. They were inappropriate and I have cut them from this diary.