Police Chief Uses Gay Panic Defense for Bar Raid Brutality

It’s been four days since Texas law enforcement raided Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge and started picking random gay men to arrest and abuse, supposedly for public intoxication. (For the story cobbled together from eight witnesses, start here.) Since then the story has taken several twists and turns, some straight out of the homophobe handbook.

I spent way too much time clipping witness accounts from Dallas/Ft. Worth news sources, but instead of giving you a 2,000 post to slog through, how about we get to the nitty gritty? If you’re so inclined, check out this link, and this one, and another.

First, a video report from a local news station, including a brief statement from Kelly Carter, mother Chad Gibson, who is still hospitalized with bleeding on the brain from injuries sustained in Sunday’s raid.

The person who hits this nail square on the head is Dan Savage, who provides all the commentary necessary.

The officers who raided the Rainbow Lounge claim that the men in the bar made “advances” on them—and Forth Worth’s police chief is backing them up:

Monday, police chief Jeff Halstead said the officers’ actions are being investigated. However, he also said that officers that entered the bar during the scheduled inspection were touched inappropriately.

“You’re touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that’s offensive,” he said. “I’m happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that.”

Allow me to translate the chief’s comments: “Them faggots in that thar bar touched mah officers and now they’re complainin’ about some rough stuff and one little ol’ faggot with a brain injury? Those perverts should be grateful they’re alive.”

This is a classic example of the Gay Panic Defense. In the very recent past all a straight man who brutally murdered a gay man had to say was, “He made a pass at me!”, and the jury would ignore the evidence and let the murderer off. The Gay Panic Defense doesn’t fly in many courts of law these days but it still has currency in the court of public opinion. And the chief of police in Forth Worth, a major U.S. city, is attempting to use the Gay Panic Defense to convince the citizens of Fort Worth to ignore the evidence—to ignore photographic evidence and credible eyewitness accounts—and let his officers off.

… The police claim that Gibson wasn’t injured when those four or five cops slammed him to the floor of the bar, but after his arrest, when, drunk and handcuffed, Gibson somehow fell and hit his head on the pavement outside the bar.

All of this is bullshit.

I’m getting uncomfortable with the amount of Dan’s post I pasted, so I’ll stop there. Click through to read more.

Chief Halstead’s Gay Panic ploy is offensive. Obviously so. I’ve never been in a bar (let alone a gay one) in my life and even I can tell you he’s full of shit.

Meanwhile, Chad Gibson remains hospitalized, upgraded this afternoon to stable condition. A fund has been set up to help pay for his medical bills. Donations can be made at any Frost Bank location in Texas. Ask to make a donation to Q Cinema for the benefit of Chad Gibson (the donation is through Q Cinema in order to be tax deductible). The account number is 608439230. Ability to make online donations coming soon.