TABC: Sorry, Gay Bar Raid Was Big Mistake

Agency chief says agents violated policy, supervisor resigns

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Aug 6, 2009  |  Updated 12:36 PM CDT
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TABC: Sorry, Gay Bar Raid Was Big Mistake

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One man was injured in a raid on the Rainbow Lounge by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Fort Worth police.

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The controversial raid of a Fort Worth gay bar was unjustified, the state agents involved violated policy, and their supervisor resigned last week amid an internal investigation, the chief of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission told a newspaper.

TABC administrator Alan Steen also apologized for the raid and said the two state agents and seven police officers who showed up with a paddy wagon for "an inspection" on June 28 likely constituted an excessive show of force, the Dallas Voice reported Thursday.

Steen said he chose to make the comments to the Voice so he could reach out to the gay community, the newspaper said.

The Voice caters to gay readers. The paper said it interviewed Steen on Wednesday, but the story was not posted on its Web site until Thursday night.

"If our guys would have followed the damn policy, we wouldn't have even been there," Steen said, according to the newspaper.

The two TABC agents involved in the raid remain on desk duty while the agency conducts an internal investigation. Steen declined to identify the supervisor who resigned.

Fort Worth police are conducting their own investigation, but the city officers involved have not been taken off the streets, and Chief Jeff Halstead has not apologized.

City attorneys this week released a detailed police report on the raid, which claims several patrons groped, blew kisses at officers and resisted arrest during the raid.

A number of patrons accuse police of using excessive force and dispute the police version of what happened.

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