Weekly staff writer Dan McGraw recently wrote about the Innocence Project and two wrongly convicted men who served long prison sentences because they wouldn’t accept plea bargains. Neither could force themselves to confess to a crime they didn’t commit, even if it meant spending the rest of their lives in prison. It goes against human nature to admit to something you didn’t do.
The city of Fort Worth subscribes to a different line of thinking.
Star-Telegram cop writer Deanna Boyd writes today about how city bean counters are urging the Fort Worth City Council to pay $400,000 to a man who was hurt during the Rainbow Lounge police raid. However, the aforementioned bean counters want everyone to rest assured that just because they’re ready to give away nearly a half-million dollars of taxpayer money, it ain’t no thang.
An agenda item for Tuesday’s council meeting includes this gem: “Approval of this settlement should not be construed as an admission of liability by the City of Fort Worth, any liability in this matter being, in fact, expressly denied.”
So, you strongly deny your innocence even as you offer to shell out 400k?
Well, that’s in the agenda too: “This settlement is entered into only to avoid time-consuming litigation.”
Oh, now I see. Even with a ginormous budget shortfall and cuts in city services looming, it’s easier to shell out 400k than to waste time defending your own credibility. After all, the police officers involved have been investigated and deemed innocent of using excessive force.
McGraw and I reported on the Rainbow Lounge raid and interviewed loads of people, including eyewitnesses, and it was impossible for us to determine what really happened. Conflicting stories abounded. Police said gay men were dry humping them. Customers said the cops stormed in with tiger blood on their fangs, ready to crack some gay skulls. People at nearby gay bars said the cops stop by there on occasion and are always pleasant and respectful. The customer most injured at Rainbow Lounge — and the one who might receive the city’s big payout — was allegedly intoxicated.
I don’t know what happened. I’m not going to guess. But city officials should not pay anything to anybody if they truly believe the city bears no liability and did nothing wrong. And I believe most taxpayers would agree. Let’s see what the city council decides.