Speaking of excessive force, where's that other TABC report on the Rainbow Lounge?

Posted on 23 Sep 2009 at 3:06pm

Over in the breaking news feed on the main page, we’ve posted a link to this story from the Associated Press about how the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rarely punishes its officers for alleged misconduct. The AP found that since 2004, all but 39 of the 234 investigations into allegations of excessive force or unprofessional conduct against TABC agents have been closed without disciplinary action. The story also says investigations into such allegations are generally conducted by the agents’ supervisors, which could increase the likelihood of flawed probes. It’s worth noting that the Rainbow Lounge raid has been an exception on both counts. TABC’s Rainbow Lounge investigations are being headed by Capt. Andy Pena, who’s over internal affairs, and they’ve already resulted in three employees being terminated.

In related news, you may be wondering when we’re going to see the results from TABC’s second investigation into the the Rainbow Lounge raid. The first report, released in August, dealt only with policy violations on the part of the two agents and their supervisor, which were enough to get all three of them canned pending appeals. But the second investigation will address the question of whether the two agents used excessive force in detaining Chad Gibson, who suffered a serious head injury and was hospitalized following the raid. Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for TABC, sent me the below statement today concerning the investigation into use of force:

“The investigator expects to be finished with the report by mid-October. Keep in mind there is a review process that will create a delay between when he finishes it and when it will actually be ‘complete.’ It isn’t complete until it’s reviewed/approved by the General Counsel who has ten days. So we’re probably looking at the end of October before we release the findings.”

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