TABC announcement and a request from Chief Halstead

Posted on 30 Jun 2009 at 8:55pm

I just got back from the Fort Worth Police Department’s East Fort Worth Community Forum. Although this was an already-scheduled event to allow East Fort Worth residents to speak with Chief Jeffrey Halstead and other officers, a number of people showed up to question the chief about the raid Sunday morning at the Rainbow Lounge.

It was a two-hour meeting, and there was a lot going on. I am just going to recap a couple of the highlights here.

First: after the meeting had started, Chief Halstead announced that the director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had just issued a statement acknowledging that Chad Gibson, who has been hospitalized with a head injury since the incident, was injured while in the custody of TABC agents.

Chief Halstead said that determining who was responsible for Gibson’s injury has been the priority of his department’s investigation so far.

Now that that is settled, the chief said, the focus for his department will turn to getting as much information as possible regarding the actions of FWPD officers during the incident.

To that end, he is asking that anyone and everyone who was at the bar that night and was an eyewitness to the events contact Capt. Garcia at 817-392-4270 to give their account. He said it is vital to a thorough investigation to get as much information as possible from those who were there.

Chief Halstead, who only recently came from Phoenix to take the top spot in the FWPD, also said he wants to meet with LGBT community leaders, that he intends to appoint a liaison to the city’s LGBT community and that he wants to institute sensitivity training.

So now, on a personal note: I understand people in our community are angry and frustrated. We want answers, and we want them now.

But folks, we also have to understand that if we really want THE TRUTH, then we need to give Chief Halstead and his command staff the opportunity to conduct a complete and thorough investigation, and those who were there need to cooperate with that investigation.

Chief Halstead said tonight he knows the LGBT community wants to know the truth, and that he DEMANDS to know the truth. If, when all is said and done, he hasn’t lived up to his promises, then we take it from there. But we have to at least give him time to do what he has said he will do.

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