More than 100 protesters held a demonstration on Sunday evening after a gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, was raided on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Chanting “No more”, the group stood on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse to demand an investigation into the incident.
According to various accounts, police entered the Rainbow Lounge on Jennings Avenue and arrested seven people. It is thought that one of those arrested is in hospital with a fractured skull.
Todd Camp, a former Star-Telegram critic who was celebrating his birthday at the bar, said: “This looked like random harassment, plain and simple. It’s sad that in this day and age, on the anniversary of one of the most important days in gay rights history that the Fort Worth and State police would choose to attack gays in such an aggressive and unjustified manner.”
Chris Hightower, a friend of the injured patron, told the Star-Telegram excessive force was used on the man, saying he had simply been going to use the bathroom.
A police statement said the bar was one of a number raided in the area. It added that two patrons were arrested for public intoxication after making sexually explicit movements towards officers, while a third was arrested for grabbing an officer’s crotch.
The statement also said that the bars were raided as part of ‘alcohol beverage code inspections’ and that the allegations of violence by officers would be investigated.
Several patrons claimed the police had never been assaulted and that no one had been acting in an aggressive manner towards officers.
The Stonewall riots have been heralded as the unofficial birthplace of the gay rights movement. On June 27th 1969, patrons who were used to being targeted by police decided to resist, sparking riots which lasted for several days.