Some police are offended by the manner in which local and state politicians jumped on the Rainbow Lounge incident and started calling for outside investigations before the Fort Worth police department’s internal investigation was barely underway.
I was talking to a police officer today (off the record) and we started discussing the Rainbow Lounge raid that resulted in a man seriously injured, a half-dozen bar patrons arrested, and eyewitness reports of rough treatment by police.
The police officer told me he wasn’t at Rainbow Lounge and can’t speak about what did or didn’t happen there. But he took it as an insult that Mayor Mike Moncrief, Sen. Wendy Davis, Rep. Lon Burnham, and others requested outside investigations into the matter before the police’s internal investigation was completed.
The internal investigations unit takes its job seriously and is more than willing to go after any cop that screws up, the anonymous police officer said. Asking for an external investigation is like telling internal investigations that they aren’t trusted to do their job.
On the other hand, many non-cops I’ve spoken to feel that internal investigations are lax and biased – cops investigating their brothers and sisters in blue and providing them more leeway than they tend to give civilian suspects.
In a high-profile situation like the Rainbow Lounge raid, which is getting national publicity, elected officials figured they’d take extra caution in this investigation. Also, the police officers’ explanations for what happened (they were being sexually assaulted by horny gay patrons) and the attitude of top cop Chief Jeff Halstead (whose first response was to support his police officers and suggest their use of force was justified) seemed to indicate a circling of the wagons by police. This probably fueled suspicions about the department’s willingness to get to the bottom of the situation.