Monday, June 29, 2009

Dozens protest arrests at Fort Worth gay bar

(From The Dallas Morning News)

Several dozen people marched outside the Tarrant County Courthouse on Sunday to protest arrests made at a gay bar over the weekend.

Protesters said they want to know why Fort Worth police officers and Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission agents used what the protesters described as excessive force when arresting seven patrons at the Rainbow Lounge early Sunday.

Todd Camp of Fort Worth, who was at the bar, said one person was hospitalized after hitting his head during the incident. Police could not confirm that Sunday night.

"It was incredibly excessive and brutal," Camp said.

In a statement, the Fort Worth Police Department said agents inspected three bars early Sunday and police arrested patrons at the Rainbow Lounge because they were drunk and tried to grope officers.

"A thorough internal investigation into the allegations made is being conducted as all allegations against officers are investigated," the statement said.

The bar, which opened south of downtown last week, was due for a TABC inspection, officials said. Police said they told the bar's owner they were coming.

The arrests came exactly 40 years after the Stonewall Inn uprising, where patrons at a New York City gay bar fought back against a police raid.

Fort Worth council member Joel Burns told protesters Sunday night he would ensure a thorough investigation.

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