In an exclusive, the Dallas Voice reports Thursday that the the administrator of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission says that two TABC agents committed "multiple violations" of his agency’s policy at a June 28th raid at a Ft Worth gay bar that prompted a national outcry, coming as it did on the 40th anniversary of the police raids at the Stonewall Inn.
In an exclusive phone interview with Dallas Voice on Wednesday, July 15, TABC Administrator Alan Steen also said the supervisor directly responsible for the two agents — a sergeant in TABC’s Fort Worth district office — announced his retirement last week in the wake of the raid and amid an ongoing internal investigation. Steen didn’t identify the sergeant or the agents by name.
“I don’t think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies,” Steen said. “We know that, and I apologize for that. Like I said in my original press release, we have in the past and we will in the future act very swiftly in making sure that those issues are corrected. It’s real clear that however it is that we were doing business that night is not the typical TABC. … I have good policy in place, I have good training in place, and I have good supervision in place to ensure that things like this don’t happen.”
Steen also said there wasn’t sufficient cause for the inspection, that it constituted an excessive show of force, and that agents were dressed incorrectly in "special events uniforms" for a routine inspection.
Steen said he expects TABC’s internal investigation of the raid to be completed in the next few weeks, and he plans to release the results during a press conference in Fort Worth. He said investigators have been working to interview witnesses but are having difficulty determining who saw the raid firsthand and who is basing their accounts on hearsay.
“We need to hear from those who saw firsthand what happened,” he said. “There’s a lot of miles between us, there are a lot of people to be interviewed, but this is our highest priority and we’re moving very quickly. I will have the findings and I will have what we did wrong and what we plan to do about it by the end of the month.”
Steen also indicated that he’s “very, very interested in and committed to” the idea of appointing a liaison between his agency and the LGBT community. He said TABC has a pool of numerous openly gay and lesbian employees that it could draw from for the position.
This seems like a public servant who understands his role in explaining how something like this could have ruined so many people’s evenings and left one man in the hospital:
“I just think the people of Fort Worth deserve to know that we’re very interested in this and very diligently working to get to the bottom of it,” he said.