TABC, Fort Worth police didn't use excessive force at Rainbow Lounge, inquiries find
FORT WORTH -- Two state agents did not use excessive force against three bar patrons arrested during a June bar check at the Rainbow Lounge, an internal investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has found.
In addition, allegations that the Rainbow Lounge was targeted in the bar check by the TABC agents and Fort Worth police because it is a gay bar also was unfounded, according to findings of the investigation released by TABC officials this morning.
“Although the evidence did not show that our agents targeted the bar or used excessive force, it does not take away from the fact that the agents violated several policies that night,” said Administrator Alan Steen. “I want to take another opportunity to say that this is not how we treat people, and we have been looking at this from every angle to find ways to make sure it does not happen again.”
The agents, Christopher Aller and Jason Chapman, were fired by the agency in August for violating numerous policies, agency officials have said.
Fort Worth police are scheduled to announce findings from their own internal investigation into the incident today.
Sources told the Star-Telegram Wednesday that all Fort Worth officers also have been cleared of excessive force allegations and no officers would be fired.
However, three of the officers involved in the surprise inspection June 28 at the Rainbow Lounge will be disciplined, according to civil service documents released Thursday morning by the Fort Worth police department.
Sgt R.M. Morris received a one-day suspension for neglect of duty for his supervision that night.
Officer K.Q. Gober received a one-day suspension for not filing an offense report in a timely manner, the documents state.
Officer J.M. Back, meanwhile, received a three-day suspension for arresting a bar patron for public intoxication because he had a “drunk look” and then releasing him without issuing a citation after the patron's friends informed him that he was a city employee.
Police officials declined to comment Wednesday on the investigation’s findings, saying Police Chief Jeff Halstead will announce the results today.
Copies of the TABC’s 74-page report are expected to be made available today, a spokeswoman has said.
A Fort Worth police spokesman said officials are not sure whether their report will be released today.
"Chief Halstead is working closely with city attorneys to make the investigation available to the public as soon as possible," Lt. Paul Henderson said. "However, there are legal restrictions as far as what information can be released under the law."
The inspection’s fallout
The Rainbow Lounge inspection, one of three by Fort Worth police that night, resulted in five arrests for public intoxication and put one patron, Chad Gibson, in the hospital with a serious head injury. Gibson was cited for assault and public intoxication.
Both state agents and Fort Worth police officers were accused of using excessive force, and protests erupted.