Jul 2, 2009
commented on Fort Worth Police Chief: That Faggot Had It Coming
I wanted to say a few things:
1) I am a resident of Fort Worth and lifelong resident of Texas. Though I have plenty of varied gripes about where I live, I think a lot you folks are getting a distorted picture of what things are like here. It is far from a bastion of liberalism and tolerance, but it is no backwater orgy of bigoted violence. People here are accepting and kind. Straight and gay work and live together and get along well. Attitudes towards gay marriage and equal rights are lagging compared to other parts of the country, but they will come around. Fort Worth is especially receptive to diversity in all forms and should not be viewed as an epicenter of homophobia due to the shameful actions of a few.
2) The reports about what took place in the bar are disturbing and sad. I'm inclined to believe that some sort of misconduct took place on the part of the police , for the sole fact that any police response should be proportional to the imminent threat. I can't imagine that groping (or "groping at", whichever is the case) an officer's crotch warrants a beating. If any sexual advances or inappropriate behavior was thrust in the officer's direction, then an appropriate response would be to ignore it if possible, or if it was disruptive to their investigation, to calmly detain the individual without using excessive force.
3) I wouldn't care to speculate exactly what went down during the raid; accounts conflict, some patrons may have been drunk, some officers may have been on an adrenaline rush, and just about everyone who was there to witness it is likely to have some bias or agenda that shapes the way they view those events. If some lewdness was directed at the officers, I wouldn't be surprised. But I wouldn't be surprised if such lewdness was concocted or imagined by those officers. Regardless, what's shocking and disheartening is that the Chief of Police would use it as a justification for the police violence that took place. The hallmarks of effective state power are restraint and fairness. Neither seem to have been exercised here.
4) As both a Fort Worth resident and supporter of gay issues, I will be watching this story closely. I will take any steps I can to apply pressure to the city and police department if it will help make them realize that we will not tolerate discrimination or police misconduct with impunity. At the very least, I hope this story generates some dialogue and understanding amongst all North Texans that persecution and intolerance are unacceptable.