The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Ft. Worth, Tx. mayor Michael Moncrief has apologized for the June 29th raid on The Rainbow Lounge, which left one man hospitalized with head injuries. The apology took place at a Ft. Worth City Council meeting on Tuesday night.
A crowd of about 250 was packed into the council chambers, while another estimated 150 people watched on closed circuit TV in the hallway.
The impromptu statement came in response to someone in the crowd demanding an apology for the incident which resulted in over 50 arrests. The mayor responded by saying, "If you want an apology from the mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what happened in Fort Worth."
On hearing the the mayor's words, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause.
The Dallas Morning News also reported yesterday a clarification from the mayor's office of the mayors words, saying the apology was not for the raid itself, but for injuries sustained during the raid, which left 26-year-old Chad Gibson hospitalized. City spokesman Bill Begley said that the mayor and City Council are always sorry if anyone gets hurt in the city.
The mayor's office has asked federal prosecutors to investigate the raid that took place on the 40th anniversary of the 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, which prompted two weeks of riots and sparked the modern gay rights movement.
Here's where I pull out my soap box.
If this raid had taken place at an African-American-owned bar, catering to the black community, holding its grand opening on Martin Luther King's birthday, there would have been hell to pay. I think its safe to say that police and ABC agents, knowing the significance of Rev. King's birthday to the black community, would have probably thought, "let's pick another day to do this."
The shame of the situation is that the Ft. Worth mayor, police and ABC agents still have no clue about the LGBT community, our concerns or our cultural history. But they are not alone. While law enforcement agencies in more progressive cities around the country have a liaison to their LGBT communities, they are the exceptions. In most parts of the country, on a local level, no one speaks for us.
As the battle lines in the fight for LGBT rights are increasingly being drawn in small cities and towns across America, it is up to LGBT-Americans in those communities to work with law enforcement, politicians and educators to create a greater understanding of our culture and our concerns. Protesting after the fact is no longer good enough.
AARP Pride Information and Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People, Families and Allies - AARP