Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Have a Right to Waive Your Privacy

On June 28th, Fort Worth police conducted three "bar checks" and one of their stops was at the Rainbow Lounge, a club frequented by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

Among the Rainbow's patrons that night, five people were cited for public intoxication and one fellow received a serious head injury, plus he was cited for assault and public intoxication.

An internal investigation by the police resulted in three officers getting a one or three day suspension for what transpired, but local community activists are outraged that Fort Worth Police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission have found that no excessive force was used.

In an effort to better understand the situation, several local media outlets have banded to make an open records request for the final investigative report and because the city attorney's office feel that some witnesses may not want their names released because of the implications of the location, the city has asked the state for guidance as to whether witness names can be redacted.

They also plan to contact each witness mentioned in the report and give them the option of waiving their privacy.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) has introduced legislation that would bar retaliatory measures against any active duty gay or lesbian service members, who choose to testify before the Armed Services Committee in upcoming hearings about lifting "Don't Ask/Don't Tell".

The activist community appears to be split on the measure - one spokesperson says it would be the first dent in the present policy, while the other basically says that you can't put a genie back in a bottle.
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