Tip Your Bartender

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One of the earliest labels attached to the bar check at the Rainbow Lounge is the word "raid." In this interview, bartender Jamie C., who has worked at a large club in Fort Worth for three years, shares her experience of an actual raid.

Many people have said that the Rainbow Lounge was targeted by police because it caters to a specific demographic. Does your bar also cater to a specific demographic?

I don't believe my bar ONLY caters to certain demographics. Any patron is welcome, no matter race, sexuality, or gender. It just so happens that my bar is mostly Mexican and African American but in no way would we ever discriminate against anyone.
Have the police made many arrests or given many citations at your bar?
Yes. I have personally been arrested and there have been dozens of citations given out and arrests made of certain patrons who were publicly intoxicated.
Do you feel like the police targeted your bar because it caters to a specific demographic?
No, my bar was NOT targeted because of a certain demographic. We were visited a lot because there had been complaints of minors drinking and the crime rate in that area.
Can you tell a difference between when Fort Worth police come into your bar, and TABC comes into your bar? Are their attitudes different? Are their methods different?
Yes, I can tell the difference between TABC and FWPD. FWPD has their actual police uniform on and TABC agents wear a state police shirt or suit and tie and have a badge on the belt buckle. Their methods are somewhat different. TABC mostly comes in to make sure you're not serving to minors or intoxicated patrons, you are discarding of your bottles properly (scratching your TABC stickers off), and to make sure the bartender and wait staff are following the guidelines you were taught in the TABC course. The Fort Worth PD are there to make arrests of publicly intoxicated people, bartender or wait staff who serve to minors, and to make sure if you are intoxicated that you are not getting in your vehicle to drive and put yourself and others at risk. At all times their attitudes are the same - they are there to make sure people are doing their jobs properly and to protect the citizens.
Can you describe how events unfolded on the night your bar was raided?
The night my bar was raided, about 20 police officers and 2 TABC agents came in. They turned off our music, they came behind the bar and looked around, they checked people's IDs and from there they ESCORTED people outside that were either publicly intoxicated or acting out in violence. We had already been through many walk throughs where they had already arrested several people.
Did you observe any police officers to act with excessive force or in any other inappropriate fashion during the raid on your bar?
No, I did not see any of the TABC agents or FWPD use excessive force on anybody!! They were simply there to protect the citizens and they made the arrests they made off of the probable cause that they were either intoxicated or using violence inside the club.
What was your experience like with the police officers who arrested you?
My experience with the officers who arrested me was good. Of course, no one enjoys being thrown in jail but they simple escorted me outside and patted me down and then read me my rights and put me in handcuffs. I had even left my cell phone behind my bar out in the open and the police officer went back upstairs and got it for me!!
What are your feelings about police officers now?
My feelings have always been the same. I respect them and what their job is. Of course, I was upset when I got arrested but not at them. I was upset at myself for making the mistake that I had made. They were there doing their job.
What did you learn from your experience?
I learned that I needed to be more aware of what was going on around me and that certain laws are set in place to protect us.
What was your reaction to what protesters and the media are saying happened at the Rainbow Lounge?
The protesters at the Rainbow Lounge have no reason to be protesting!! No one witnessed this patron getting hit, they just ASSUMED that's what happened when they saw their friend being taken away in an ambulance. It does not matter your race, gender, or sexuality - NO ONE is above the law!!
What do you think makes your experience of a bar raid different from what happened at the Rainbow Lounge?
Well 1: A raid is more than just 6 cops and 2 TABC agents. And all of those arrests may have not been made if people's attitude about them being there was better!! 2: It has already been stated that it was NOT a raid, it was simply a walk through to let the new owner know the laws and regulations and to look for any obvious violations!
What advice would you offer to the bar patrons and their supporting activists and protesters?
Don't go to bars and get drunk to where you don't remember what happens. Be courteous to the people that are around you even if they are there doing their job. No one likes it when people go into their work place and disrespect them.
Disclaimer: The information posted on this site has not been prepared or approved by any police agency, police association, or legal or law enforcement professional. It has been compiled through research of already available information and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as findings of an investigation.

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  • Editor July 19, 2009 at 1:49 PM
     

    I'll take this as a compliment as well.  Calling an interview with a bartender who has had experience being raided and arrested biased is an interesting comparison.  I wonder if the Communist Party (it's a proper noun, by the way) in China always links its websites to DOZENS of outside sources, including court decisions, law, and accredited psychological studies...somehow, I'm thinking not.  Thanks for your visit...come back when you're ready to restore reason instead of perpetuate hysteria.

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