“They were not my employees,” Halstead said during a meeting at an east Fort Worth church.
Oh yes, when all else fails and the pressure is on simply blame someone else, right? No need to take responsibility for the actions of a few officers under your supervision raiding an LGBT bar within your police departments jurisdiction, right? The fact is that someone is going to have to own up to this very big mistake. Pointing fingers and deflecting responsibility doesn't bring forward necessary answers.
As of yesterday, Chad Gibson, the young man injured during the reckless Rainbow Lounge raid on the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, is improving. But questions are beginning to arise as reports of Gibson drinking water versus alcohol when he was roughed up begin to surface. That's why a complete and thorough investigation into this matter, as first called for by Councilman Joel Burns, and echoed by fellow members Hicks and Espino, must be pursued.
What is disappointing is that Fort Worth Councilmembers Burdette, Moss, Zimmerman, Jordan, and Scarth remain silent. Why? Maybe you should call and ask them. I see no harm in joining with colleagues in calling for a complete and thorough investigation into this appalling incident. This raid is a black eye on all of Tarrant County, but certainly Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth Police Department. That's unfair to the vast majority of the police force that is in good standing with the community, does great service in protecting Fort Worth residents from crime, and are otherwise tolerant of all individuals regardless of sex, race, religion, and certainly sexual orientation. Those councilmembers who remain silent not only owe it to their constituents to demand a thorough investigation, they also owe it to the Fort Worth Police Department.
A Candlelight Vigil for Gibson will be held tonight at 8PM at the Rainbow Lounge, 651 Jennings Street in Fort Worth. Even if you are not able to attend, but wish to show your solidarity and support with Gibson, and the push for equal rights and protections for the LGBT community under the law, light a candle at your home. Then call your friends and family across Texas, or the United States, and have them do the same thing. It is in larger numbers that our voices for equality ring loud, and hopefully are heard.
Update: I received a copy of a joint statement by Councilman Sal Espino and FWISD Trustee Dr. Carlos Vasquez that was issued on June 29th. Thanks to Councilman Espino for forwarding a copy of this statement to me.
“We have confidence in the professionalism of our Police, nevertheless, I must insist upon a full investigation. Fort Worth residents must be confident that we remain an open and inclusive City and that all questions about this unfortunate incident will be answered,” he [Espino] said.
Trustee Vasquez expressed his hope that an investigation will uncover the facts to the satisfaction of the public. “We must have answers and will not accept any form of discrimination against the GLBT community. I know that our Fort Worth Police Department and City leaders understand that gay people are taxpayers and deserve the full protection of the police department,” said Vasquez. “Now we must await a full disclosure of the facts,” he said.