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Raleigh discrimination rally fosters dialogue about racism

Posted June 30, 2012

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— Nearly 100 people rallied in downtown Raleigh Saturday in support of a man who claims he was physically removed from a bar earlier this month because he is black.

Jonathan Wall, 21, filed a complaint last week against Todd Chriscoe, who manages The Downtown Sports Bar and Grill on Glenwood Avenue. In the paperwork, Wall accused 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.

William Potter, an attorney for the bar, denies that Wall was mistreated and says he was kicked out because he's not a member. Potter said race had nothing to do with it.

Wall's supporters aren't convinced.

"I wish people were more evolved and we had gotten past things like this, but it's important to remember it still happens everywhere," said Clark Goldentyer, who attended Saturday's rally in Moore Square.

Raleigh discrimination rally fosters dialogue about racism Raleigh discrimination rally fosters dialogue about racism

Organizers of the rally, called "Above It All: A Raleigh Stand Against Social Injustice," said they are trying to call attention to discrimination at several bars and nightclubs. They say people can rise above the issues by talking to each other about race and racism.

"This is, you know, an inter-generational dialogue," said organizer Marjorie Fields-Harris. "I think it's just a step in a good journey."

Rachel Powell said it's important for people of all racial backgrounds to stand in solidarity against discrimination.

"Even if we're not people of color, we very much sympathize," she said. "We stand against it as well, and I think that it's important for the community to know that they have support."

Wall and Chriscoe are scheduled to appear before a Wake County judge on July 23. Chriscoe said earlier this week that he looks forward to telling his side of the story in court.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ladyblue Jul 2, 2012

    ya'll need to get a life... if you weren't there to see what happened you shouldn't scream discrimination listening to ONE SIDE OF THE STORY... i'd think the case in Florida taught something...

  • MLWoman Jul 2, 2012

    There can be no honest discussions on race as long as there is only one side recognized.

  • Not_Time_Yet Jul 2, 2012

    First, I don't think I'll go to that bar since it is being targeted as an unfriendly place. But I do understand the private membership versus a regular bar has to do with the type of license they have to serve alcohol. Most places downtown have a "food and beverage" license which requires a certain percentage of food to be served. A bar that doesn't want to be bothered with food accounting or volume can be a private club and enforce their membership however they see fit.

    As for what happened with the claim of racism, perhaps the bar manager just didn't like the attitude of his non-customer.

  • jjordan231179 Jul 2, 2012

    I dont think its race. Its MEMBERSHIP INCONSISTENCY which leaves the door for race WIDE OPEN. Ive been to this bar over 50 times and never been asked to buy something or leave or asked for a membership. It seems like random tactics used to enforce who they want in their establishment. Go to their website. It says nothing about a membership. It should also say "you must buy something here to come in". LOL never ever ever heard of that rule anywhere. Sounds like anohter "random" tactic. This is what they get when they dont enforce rules equally. They are also required to keep membership records on file. BOY are they going to come up short. Ive never needed one or anyone in my party EVER.

  • Alexia.1 Jul 2, 2012

    'The "bouncers" attorney is not the one screaming MEMBERSHIP. Chriscoes attorney is. LOL keep trying!' --jjordan231179

    This article says that Chriscoe's attorney said that, but I've never actually read a quote from him where he said it. Might the article be wrong? Why is WRAL quoting others, but not Potter? Can you find a quote from Potter that makes this clear?

  • Alexia.1 Jul 2, 2012

    "PAULEJ....the membersghip thingy came from Chriscoes LAWYER!!! You have to ACTUALLY read the story!!!" --jjordan231179

    Indeed it did. Interesting, since Wall never said that in his letter. I read that, but apparently too quickly.

    So, we have Wall saying it was due to race, though there were other black customers. We know Wall would not buy a drink, though he said he would when asked. We know Wall was told there is a membership requirement at the door, though apparently loosely enforced. What constitutes membership?

    In any case, regardless of membership requirements, he was asked to buy something or leave, and he refused to do either. I'd say he was trespassing. Whatever the case, given other black patrons, I do not think it was race. He's just using that as an excuse.

  • jjordan231179 Jul 2, 2012

    AGAIN Ive never been in a bar where I was asked to buy anything or leave. LOL seriously I go to Glenwood every weekend. You have no clue what you are talking about. I have never needed a membership at any bar downtown. 606, NOIR, Solace, Mirage, Napper Tandys, Glode, DTSB, Hibernia, Cantina, Cashmere, Hi-5, none of them. Sorry you;re confused and think people have to buy something or leave. Never heard of that or seen that.

  • jjordan231179 Jul 2, 2012

    Wall talked about the bouncer at the door saying something about membership, but Chriscoe did not. The bouncer is not the one being "charged" by Wall.

    The "bouncers" attorney is not the one screaming MEMBERSHIP. Chriscoes attorney is. LOL keep trying!

  • jjordan231179 Jul 2, 2012

    "The manager who escorted him outside NEVER talked about membership." = PAULEJ

    Then why is that the reason his lawyer gave? Why have I never needed a membership? EVER? What does one look like? What color is it? LOL this is too easy!! Remember Im 33 and been going to Glenwood since this bar in question was the Rhino Club WHERE THEY DID ASK FOR MEMBERSHIP!!!!!

  • Alexia.1 Jul 2, 2012

    'PAULEJ why dont you defend the 2001 story and Chriscoes assault and drunk driving charges. LOL "who said anything about a membership"...UMMM HIS LAWYER!!! IN THIS STORY!!! READ!!! its KEY!' --jjordan231179

    Wall talked about the bouncer at the door saying something about membership, but Chriscoe did not. The bouncer is not the one being "charged" by Wall.

    What did Chriscoe do? Asked Wall three times if he was going to buy a drink, that's what. Chriscoe did not throw out other black customers, so I'm finding it hard to believe this had anything to do with race.

    Wall was likely the only customer standing around downstairs 10 minutes saying he was waiting for his friend to come out of the bathroom.