Fort Worth City Council approves settlement with Rainbow Lounge patrons Gibson, Armstrong

Tom Anable
Tom Anable

The Fort Worth City Council voted without discussion this morning to award a settlement of $400,000 to Chad Gibson, the Rainbow Lounge patron who was injured during the Police Department’s raid of the gay bar in 2009.

Also approved was a settlement with Rainbow Lounge patron George Armstrong, who was also injured. Because that amount awarded to Armstrong is less than $50,000, it did not need to be approved by the council.

David Mack Henderson of Fairness Fort Worth was at the council meeting during the vote. He said no one signed up to speak at the end of the meeting. He said TV cameras were at City Hall, but no one from his group was giving interviews.

“We’re just part of the city — the way it should be,” Henderson said. “Moving on. Nothing to talk about.”

Officer Sara Straten, the Fort Worth Police Department’s liaison to the LGBT community, was scheduled to speak to TV news this afternoon about the improved relations between the city and the LGBT community, according to Henderson. Straten was appointed in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid.

Tom Anable, of Fairness Fort Worth, was in Austin for the anti-bullying hearings in the Senate Education Committee this morning but called Dallas Voice during the recess. Anable called the settlement unprecedented. He said this is the first time the city of Fort Worth has entered mediation without a federal lawsuit being filed. He also said it was the first time the city made a settlement with someone from the LGBT community.

Still pending is the settlement between Gibson and Armstrong and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which conducted the raid along with the FWPD. While there is an agreement in place, TABC still must review and sign it.

—  David Taffet