Gay rights activists want Rainbow Lounge incident investigated

FORT WORTH — Members of the gay community urged City Council members Tuesday to conduct an independent investigation into last month's incident at the Rainbow Lounge, a gay bar where six people were arrested and one was injured during an inspection by state and Fort Worth police.

"I believe that this Police Department does a good job and that those who wear the uniform try to serve and protect us," said Jon Nelson, a Fort Worth attorney representing the newly formed Fairness Fort Worth. "But that belief does not create an assumption that everything was OK at the Rainbow Lounge."

Nelson was the first of more than two dozen people scheduled speak before the council late Tuesday. Nelson also said there needs to be citywide diversity training conducted by experts outside the department, and called for an active police presence for the safety of the gay community where they socialize and congregate.

Earlier in the meeting, council members Joel Burns and Kathleen Hicks – who have been outspoken about the incident – said they supported the call for an outside investigation.

Burns said he believes the Police Department's investigation will be accurate, "but I do believe we need to answer to everyone who may have doubt."

Mayor Mike Moncrief has asked the U.S. attorney's office to review the Police Department's findings, which should be complete in mid-August. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which participated in the inspection, is also reviewing.

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