FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth is settling a lawsuit with the man injured in a 2009 raid on a gay bar.
Fort Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) agents raided the Rainbow Lounge bar and in the process injured, then 26-year-old, Chad Gibson.
Gibson was hospitalized with bleeding around the brain. Witnesses said several officers threw him to the ground during the bar inspection.
The City of Fort Worth has agreed to pay Gibson $400,000 for injuries he received in the liquor raid.
Jon Gibson, with the group Fairness Fort Worth, says the settlement is ends a very unfortunate incident. But some question, is the payout an apology from the city? “Whether it is a backhanded apology or not I think it’s besides the point,” Gibson said matter-of-factly. “This is closure that’s what this is. Is there a necessity for a final apology? No.”
Gibson says the settlement also avoids a jury trial. “Ultimately this would have gone to a jury and you don’t know what 12 people are going to do, plus the publicity for this city would have been devastating.”
The lawsuit settlement still requires approval from the city council, which they are expected to give next Tuesday.
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The city also reached a settlement with another man at the Rainbow Lounge that night. A city spokesman says George Armstrong will receive $40,000.
Jon Nelson, with the group “Fairness Fort Worth”, commented, ‘I think it’s a wise move on the part of the city. I think it’s sort of closure to the entire event and I think it’s a good thing for both sides.”
So far, the TABC has not settled with Gibson. When asked about the possibility of a settlement TABC official Carolyn Beck said, And at this time all parties have agreed no to comment on those discussions, until we have final resolution.”
A statement from the City of Fort Worth said, “Both parties have agreed to a settlement, which will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday. In light of the circumstances, city staff believes proceeding with this settlement is the right thing to do, not only to bring closure to those involved, but also to prevent lengthy and even more costly litigation.”
CBS 11 News contacted Gibson’s attorney. He and his client are declining comment until after the city council vote.
Five people were arrested and at least a dozen more restrained during the June 2009 raid. To this day, owners of the Rainbow Lounge say their bar was unjustly targeted because it caters to gays and lesbians.
“It’s still really emotional, even after almost two years. I saw friends and patrons treated as they were substandard,” recalled Rainbow Lounge Operations Director Randy Norman. “The physical part was just so amazing to me. I can still see that night and feel what happened.”
Ultimately three TABC agents were fired for their involvement in the raid and three Fort Worth police officers received short suspensions.