Early this morning a new LGBT club in Fort Worth was raided by Fort Worth police, to which reports indicate that one individual arrested suffered a fractured skull. Eyewitness reports say that anywhere between 10-20 were arrested. This activity occurs on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests in New York where gays and lesbians protested harassment by police and began the modern gay rights movement.
Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns issued the following statement:
I want all citizens of Texas and Fort Worth to know and be assured that the laws and ordinances of our great State and City will be applied fairly, equally and without malice or selective enforcement. I consider this to be part of “The Fort Worth Way” here. As an elected representative of the city of Fort Worth, I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the City of Fort Worth Police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning, June 28, 2009.
It is unfortunate that this incident occurred in Fort Worth and even more so to have occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. Unlike 40 years ago, though, the people of this community have elective representation that will make sure our government is accountable and that the rights of all of its citizens are protected. I are working together with our Mayor, Police Chief, the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, and our State Legislative colleagues to get a complete and accurate accounting of what occurred.
Rest assured that neither the people of Fort Worth, nor the city government of Fort Worth, will tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens. And know that the GLBT Community is an integral part of the economic and cultural life of Fort Worth.
Every Fort Worth citizen deserves to have questions around this incident answered and I am working aggressively toward that end.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the following from today's demonstration:
More than 100 people are at the Tarrant County Courthouse to protest a police raid early this morning at a gay nightclub.
Witnesses say that police arrived at about 1 a.m. at the Rainbow Lounge on South Jennings Street and arrested seven people. They said one of those arrested suffered a fractured skull during the takedown and is at a Fort Worth hospital.
About 75 to 100 people showed up earlier this afternoon at the Rainbow Lounge to make signs for the rally. Some of the signs read: “Give us Answers Now” and “We Have Rights Too.”
I applaud Councilman Burns for taking leadership on this issue and asking for a full investigation. The Rainbow Lounge was a new nightspot just opened in Fort Worth for gays and lesbians to gather in Tarrant County. The fact that this incident occurred on the eve of the Stonewall protests of 1969 is very suspect. The LGBT community in North Texas rises once more to demand equal rights and human decency and hope for a thorough investigation into this incident.