FW Approves $400K Rainbow Lounge Settlement

By Chris Van Horne
|  Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011  |  Updated 12:52 AM CDT
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<a title=Fort Worth City Council approves a nearly half a million dollar settlement to a man severely injured in a raid on a gay bar two years ago." />

Chris Van Horne, NBCDFW.com

Fort Worth City Council approves a nearly half a million dollar settlement to a man severely injured in a raid on a gay bar two years ago.

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Fort Worth will pay nearly half a million dollars to a man severely injured in a raid on a gay bar nearly  two years ago.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $400,000 settlement with Chad Gibson.

Gibson sustained head injuries and said he was the victim of excessive force by Fort Worth police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in the Rainbow Lounge raid in June 2009.

The city, which denies that excessive force was used, said that the settlement is not an admission of liability but avoids time-consuming and costly litigation.

"It was primarily a way of minimizing the liability exposure to the city," Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "It was not an admission of guilt by anyone in our department. It was an attempt to put this behind us and move forward."

Don Tittle, Gibson's attorney, said it does not surprise him that the city is not taking responsibility for what happened to his client but said that anyone should be able to read between the lines.

"The amount that's being paid sort of speaks for itself," he said.

Gibson's family members did not return calls for comment, and Tittle would not say much because another claim against the TABC is pending.

The state liquor board said it's considering settling that claim with Gibson.

But Tittle said his client was satisfied with the city's settlement. Criminal charges against Gibson were dropped late last year.

Two agents and a supervisor with the state's liquor board were later fired over the incident, and three Fort Worth police officers were suspended. Both agencies determined no excessive force was used.

Fort Worth instituted several programs aimed at avoiding future incidents. Diversity training was instituted for all city staff, including the mayor, and a liaison officer now works with the gay community.

"The diversity in our city is a strength, not a weakness, and we can't afford to let it become one, nor will we," Moncrief said.

The city also settled a claim with another man, George Armstrong, for $40,000, an amount that did not have to be approved by the City Council.

The Associated Press' Angela K. Brown contributed to this report.

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