TABC Reassigns Two Agents in Gay Bar Raid

State agency says man with head injury was in their custody

By Scott Gordon
|  Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009  |  Updated 11:16 PM CDT
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TABC Reassigns Two Agents in Gay Bar Raid

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TABC Reassigns Two Agents in Gay Bar Raid

About 250 people attended a candlelight vigil for Chad Gibson outside the Rainbow Lounge.
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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said Wednesday a man who received a head injury in a raid on a Fort Worth gay bar was in their custody at the time, and the two agents involved have been temporarily reassigned amid an internal investigation.

“They’ve been placed on day shift,” said TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck. “Day shift means desk duty."

The TABC agents and seven Fort Worth police officers went into the new Rainbow Lounge on South Jennings Street late Saturday night to conduct a bar inspection, both agencies have said. 

Police said several patrons made sexually suggestive moves toward officers, and one patron groped a police supervisor.

Witnesses strongly dispute the police account.

Chad Gibson, 26, of Euless, remains at JPS Hospital with a head injury, but his family said he is improving. His condition was upgraded from serious to fair.

About 250 people held a candlelight vigil for Gibson outside the Rainbow Lounge on Wednesday night. They sang "We Shall Overcome" and chanted, "No more."

Questions about how he received the head injury remain unclear and are the focus of separate internal investigations by TABC and Fort Worth police.

Witnesses said he was initially shoved against a wall by uniformed Fort Worth officers, but that the two TABC agents joined in and threw him on the floor after his hands were tied behind his back.

A photo shows the TABC agents on top of him on the floor. No Fort Worth officers are visable.

Witnesses also said there was a struggle after he was escorted outside the bar when at least one TABC agent tried to hold him down.

Investigators are looking into the possibility Gibson's injury occurred when he fell outside the bar.

“I take seriously all allegations concerning inappropriate or illegal behavior by our employees.  We have in the past, and we will in the future, take action against any employee found to have violated agency policy or the law,” TABC administrator Alan Steen said in a statement. "We are saddened that this incident occurred and extend our sincere hope that Mr. Gibson recovers quickly."

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