Three fired over Texas gay bar raid

Jessica Geen September 1, 2009
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Three officers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) have been fired after an investigation into a raid on a Fort Worth gay bar.

Agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman, who were both present at the June 28th raid, were dismissed last Friday, along with their supervisor, sergeant Terry Parsons, who was not at the raid. Two other supervisors were disciplined.

The Rainbow Lounge was raided by six police officers and two officers from the TABC on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, after patrons had reportedly been seen drunk several days before.

Customers said they had been harassed and undue force had been used, while some gay activists have claimed the raid was straightforward discrimination. A number of protests have been held since the raid. One man, Chad Gibson, was hospitalised with a head injury which was sustained during his arrest.

According to Associated Press, an investigation found that Aller and Chapman did not report that they used force to arrest Gibson. They were also accused of wearing the wrong uniform and failing to seek permission to attend the raid.

Parsons was found to have failed to report to his supervisors that force had been used during the raid. His direct supervisor Lieutenant Gene Anderson was given a three-day unpaid suspension and six months’ probation, while Captain Robert Cloud received a written reprimand. All five have ten days to appeal.

Earlier this month, Fort Worth police chief Jeff Halstead admitted that the raid happened because his department did not have specific guidelines to direct the behaviour of officers.

Halstead said a final report is expected in September or October, which will determine whether officers used excessive force and unprofessional conduct and whether disciplinary action is necessary.

Both the police and the TABC have now revised their policies and diversity training.

Related topics: Americas

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