“The Raid at the Rainbow Lounge” Documentary Premieres in Fort Worth

Film debuts to a sold-out crowd

A documentary filmmaker revealed in Fort Worth on Thursday night his film about a 2009 raid on a gay bar.

"The Raid at the Rainbow Lounge" debuted at the AMC Theater in Sundance Square in front of a sold-out crowd.

The 103-minute documentary chronicles the events of June 28, 2009, when Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents and Fort Worth police officers raided the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth.

Two TABC agents and a supervisor lost their jobs, three Fort Worth police officers were suspended, and both sides came to a settlement agreement with a man who was hospitalized with a serious head injury.

"It's an incredibly important to tell this story because to me, it's inspirational," filmmaker Robert Camina said.

Camina wasn't there the night of the raid but said he felt it was his duty to document the story.

"This is the kind of world the members of the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community have to live in," he said. "It's a world of homophobia, fear and intimidation, and people need to know events like this still happen today in our lifetime."

"It's now part of Fort Worth history," said Raymond Gill, who was inside the bar the night of the raid.

Former Rainbow Lounge manager Randy Norman is featured in the film.

"I mean, those were all my friends that were in the bar and to see them go through that -- the ridicule, the name calling -- it just brought back a lot of touchy feelings," he said.

The events eventually led to a greater understanding and cooperation between the Fort Worth Police Department and the LGBT community.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead created a permanent position in which an officer serves as a liaison between the department and gay community.

Halstead agreed to let Camina interview him for the film.

"[I] definitely wanted to be here in support of not just his documentary and the movie, but I also wanted to be here in support of all the people who supported us during a really trying time for our city," Halstead said.

"I think sometimes bad things need to happen," Camina said. "And this film showcases that out of the ashes of that disaster comes progress, comes change."

"The Raid at the Rainbow Lounge" will be featured at the West Village Magnolia Theater in Dallas on April 25.

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