News (USA)

City moves forward with prosecution of bar patrons injured in ‘Rainbow Lounge’ raid

City moves forward with prosecution of bar patrons injured in ‘Rainbow Lounge’ raid
June 28, 2009 raid on the Rainbow Lounge

City prosecutors in Fort Worth have decided to press ahead with criminal charges against at least two patrons of a gay bar who were arrested during a controversial police raid last summer.

Chad Gibson, who received a serious head injury while in custody, and George Armstrong appeared for the first time in Fort Worth Municipal Court, according to KXAS-TV.

Gibson is charged with public intoxication and with assaulting a state agent by allegedly groping him. Armstrong is charged with public intoxication. The intoxication and assault charges are both misdemeanors.

Adam Seidel, the attorney for both men, said his clients were unwilling to accept a plea bargain and asked the case to be set for trial.

He declined to say specifically if prosecutors offered a deal, but said he was surprised they did not drop the charges entirely.

“The city’s message has been, ‘Let’s learn from this and move forward and get past it,’” Seidel said. “That doesn’t seem to be consistent with prosecuting these two victims.”

The June 28, 2009 raid on the Rainbow Lounge began when police officers and Alcohol Commission agents arrived for a routine check to ensure the bar wasn’t serving underage patrons and to stop potential drunk drivers.

Witnesses said officers forced their way through the crowd and grew physically and verbally aggressive. They claim the officers arrested people at random, never asked for identification and didn’t check blood-alcohol levels on site.

In August, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission fired the two agents, and their supervisor, who took part in the raid because they failed to get approval to conduct the inspection.

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