I was at the council meeting last night. I stayed until discussion on the Rainbow Lounge raid was complete, which was shortly before 1 a.m.
Yes, Blake Wilkinson and one other person were removed from the council chambers. Others in the hall – I was not in the hall so I don’t know how many – were escorted from the building when they began to chant Hear Us Now. Several other people there to speak on the Rainbow Lounge raid, including Chuck Potter, asked Blake to stop before he was taken out of the council chambers. One man stood up, told Blake he was leaving because Blake was embarrassing him and then walked out. After the RL discussion was over and everyone was leaving, several people from the Fort Worth community told me they were angry with Blake.
Rick Vanderslyce was there, and he too demanded that the Rainbow Lounge discussion be moved to the front of the agenda but stopped before he was removed. Two other people – one man and one woman – continued to speak after Blake and the second person were removed and Mayor Mike Moncrief told them they also would be removed if they didn’t stop interupting the meeting. They sat down and stayed through the rest of the meeting (I think they were they all night).
Mayor Moncrief did move the Rainbow Lounge discussion up on the agenda – to before the council’s regular agenda – but the election of a new mayor pro tem, including several citizens speaking in support of Kathleen Hicks, citizen comment on possible budget cuts to the city’s program for the homeless and a quickly handled street name change to honor a young girl killed recently by a dog were held before the Rainbow Lounge discussion.
Everyone who signed up to speak about the Rainbow Lounge raid was allowed to speak, as were two people who had not signed up to speak but asked to be allowed to address the council. Jon Nelson with Fairness Fort Worth was first, and he was followed by Tom Annabal (Tom – I may have misspelled your name here, and if so, I apologize) who described in detail what he saw happen June 28 at Rainbow Lounge.
Councilman Burdette later said he was shocked and chilled by what Tom described. Every person on the council pledged to “get to the bottom” of what happened, and they all said they support an independent investigation of the incident and sensitivity/diversity training not just for the police department but for all city employees.
The several Fort Worth LGBT residents I spoke with after the meeting said they were pleased with the outcome and with the council’s response.
There’s lots more, obviously. But I have to get ready for work so I will post a story later.
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