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Bar manager served criminal summons over discrimination claim

Posted June 26, 2012
Updated May 10, 2013

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— A Raleigh man who claims he was physically removed from a downtown bar because he is black has filed a complaint against one of the bar's employees.

The criminal summons, issued on June 22, was served Tuesday against Todd Chriscoe, who manages The Downtown Sports Bar and Grill on Glenwood Avenue.

In the paperwork, Jonathan Wall, 21, accuses Chriscoe, 47, of simple assault and ethnic intimidation. Wall says Chriscoe grabbed his wrists, put them behind his neck, forced him out of the bar and pushed him to the ground.

The criminal summons is based on Wall's accusations before a magistrate and not a police investigation. Raleigh police say they are not investigating the matter because Wall declined to file a police report after speaking with a police sergeant who was on foot in the area.

A hearing in Wake County District Court has been set for July 23.

Wall's attorney, Alesia Vick, said at a news conference last week that Chriscoe confronted Wall in the early hours of June 17 and told him he would have to buy a drink or leave.

When Wall explained that he was waiting on a friend, Vick said, Chriscoe put him in a headlock and forced him out of the bar.

She said there were no other black customers in that part of the bar.

William Potter, an attorney for The Downtown Sports Bar and Grill, has said that Wall was not improperly treated and that he was thrown out of the bar because he was not a member.

Potter has insisted that race had nothing to do with the matter. Jonathan Wall Raleigh bar discrimination claim going to court

Still, Wall's story has prompted numerous other people who are black to come forward, saying they were also treated differently at The Downtown Sports Bar and Grill.

A rally being called "Above It All: A Raleigh Stand Against Social Injustice" is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Moore Square, 200 S. Blount St.

Other patrons have come to the bar's defense, denying that it discriminates. Nightlife photos taken at the bar, including those by LazyDay.com, show diverse crowds inside.

Accusations of discrimination aren't new for Chriscoe.

In 2001, he co-owned a private club called The Office in downtown Raleigh. The club's strict dress code that prohibited styles of clothing popular among black people.

A WRAL News investigation at the time found that a doorman treated a white couple and a black couple wearing the same brand of clothing differently.

Chriscoe said back then that the matter had nothing to do with race but had more to do with creating an upscale environment and ensuring that patrons of the club felt comfortable.

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  • Alexia.1 Jun 28, 2012

    asamer, your blog fails to reveal the fact that there were other black patrons. You need to clarify why he was singled out and other black patrons were not. Might it be because he apparently just came in with his buddy to use the restroom? That is, they were not really customers?

  • solarcableguy Jun 28, 2012

    jjordan has been to this bar 50 times even though he contends that they discriminate...hmmm

  • jjordan231179 Jun 28, 2012

    LOL Ive never been asked to buy anything or leave. What in teh world!! If that did happen I would leave and never go back. Never happened to me. Im 33 and been going out since I was 18 at Club Zone. I see underage people with "Xs" on their hands not buying anything all night. You keep failing. WHY? Becausee you obviously never go to any of these establishments. Its clear to see.

  • Mon Account Jun 28, 2012

    @asamer - lol "racist-ish"

  • asamer Jun 28, 2012

    http://www.technicianonline.com/viewpoint/not-racist-just-racist-ish-1.2745881

  • Mon Account Jun 28, 2012

    This is where you are wrong. He was told 3 times to buy a drink or leave and was given time to do so. He did not comply, even after saying "OK" the second time. He was non-compliant and, therefore, escorted out the door.
    paulej

    It was the manner in which he was escorted that is the issue. IF Mr Wall's story is right then he was assaulted. If he did resist being "escorted" from the bar by using force, then the headlock was appropriate to protect person/property.
    You can't walk up to someone on your property and say "leave" 3 times then assault them. It's illegal- only police can remove them (unless the person is posing a threat). Not buying a drink is hardly a threat.

  • westernwake1 Jun 28, 2012

    "So if Im a designated driver for my party I have to wait outside for them? "buy a drink or leave"? LOL thats a first!!
    " - jjordan231179

    The few times I am in a bar, I am normally the designated driver. If a manager of a bar came up to me and said "buy a drink or leave" then I would buy a soda. It does not take much common sense to figure out the expectations. If you are sitting with a group who are all drinking and you are the sole person not with a drink normally the manager would not have a problem. If you are only in the club to use their restroom - yeah I think the manager will have a problem.

    Are you someone who goes to restaurants and sits at the table without ordering anything... and then wonder why they tell you "Buy food or leave"?

  • Alexia.1 Jun 28, 2012

    "So if Im a designated driver for my party I have to wait outside for them? "buy a drink or leave"? LOL thats a first!!" --jjordan231179

    Had he said that, instead of saying he was waiting for his friend to get out of the bathroom (one who also did not buy anything), perhaps it would have been a non-issue. He could have purchased a Coke.

  • jjordan231179 Jun 28, 2012

    I am smart enough to know that if a manager of a bar comes up to me and says "Buy a drink or leave" then I better buy a drink. I know if the manager approaches me a second time, I will forcibly be removed from the nightclub.

    So if Im a designated driver for my party I have to wait outside for them? "buy a drink or leave"? LOL thats a first!!

  • westernwake1 Jun 28, 2012

    I am smart enough to know that if a manager of a bar comes up to me and says "Buy a drink or leave" then I better buy a drink. I know if the manager approaches me a second time, I will forcibly be removed from the nightclub.

    It is interesting that this "honor graduate going to Harvard" doesn't appear to have the smarts to comprehend this basic rule of going to nightclubs.

    I guess that is the difference between a MIT graduate and someone going to Harvard.

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