Local News

Raleigh bar discrimination claim goes into mediation

Posted August 20, 2012

— A bar manager and a Harvard graduate student began mediation Monday over claims that the student was thrown out of a downtown Raleigh bar because he is black.

Jonathan Wall, 21, filed a criminal complaint in June against Todd Chriscoe, accusing him of simple assault and ethnic intimidation.

Wall says he was with a friend at the Downtown Sports Bar and Grill in Raleigh on June 17 when Chriscoe told him that he would have to buy a drink or leave.

Wall says that when he told Chriscoe that he was waiting on his friend who was in the bathroom, Chriscoe grabbed his wrists, put them behind his neck and forced him out of the bar.

The bar’s owner and Chriscoe say race was not a factor and that Wall was thrown out of the club because he was not a member.

Although he didn't elaborate Monday, Chriscoe said videos from the bar's surveillance cameras show a different story.

Chriscoe has not been charged with any crime, and Raleigh police are not investigating the allegation since Wall filed his complaint with a magistrate and declined to file a police report after speaking with a police sergeant who was on foot in the area.

If the case cannot be mediated, it will go to trial Oct. 1.

"I'm hoping they can come to some understanding about what really happened and what the resolution should be," Chriscoe's attorney, Bill Young, said Monday.

Wall's story sparked a social media firestorm and prompted numerous other people who are black to come forward, saying they were also treated differently at the bar.

 Downtown Sports Bar and Grill Raleigh bar discrimination claim goes into mediation

But other patrons have come to the defense of the bar, denying discrimination.

Accusations of discrimination, however, 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 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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Ipromiseitwonthurt Aug 22, 2012

    Wall should have told Chriscoe that he was a Harvard graduate student. That surely would have cleard up the confusion.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 22, 2012

    "It is not 1960 anymore...." - scuse2

    Does someone need to tell that to the NAACP? :)

    "So now it is clear that the bar's surveillance videos show that Mr. Wall is not telling the truth" - westernwake1

    Can you post a link? I haven't seen the video.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 22, 2012

    "How do you mediate a criminal complaint??" - SomeRandomGuy

    I had the same question. If there are no criminal charges, then why is there a trial date of Oct. 1? Seems more like a civil case to me.

    Even if the black dude didn't leave when told, isn't it still assault if the white dude PHYSICALLY threw him out? I thought if someone is on your property and doesn't leave when told, you can't take the law into your own hands and remove them, but you have to call the police instead.

  • Alexia.1 Aug 21, 2012

    "So because there's a handful of Blacks in the bar means him and his staff don't discriminate?" --Lamborghini Mercy

    Yeah, I'd say that sums it up. People can and do certainly discriminate based on membership, looks, color of shoes, etc. Want proof? Go to your next job interview in pajamas and see what happens.

    The bar manager said he was kicked out for refusing to purchase anything and not being a member. In the first story, I recall he was given at least 2 or three chances and in once instance he said OK, but then admitted to pulling out his mobile phone and start texting.

    The case is baseless.

  • westernwake1 Aug 21, 2012

    "How do you mediate a criminal complaint??" - SomeRandomGuy

    It means you criminal complaint has no legs to stand on and no truth in fact... you "mediate" so you can keep your face in press and help your future political career as an "activist".

  • piene2 Aug 21, 2012

    "Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

    If you ever lose your copy of this post will it mean that you will never have anything to post again?

  • scuse2 Aug 21, 2012

    wa4mjf...."colored folks"? It is not 1960 anymore....

  • SomeRandomGuy Aug 21, 2012

    How do you mediate a criminal complaint??

  • Lamborghini Mercy Aug 21, 2012

    wa4mjf - WRAL posts pix of bar patrons here on this site. If you look at the Downtown Sports Bar pix you will see plenty of colored folks there.

    So because there's a handful of Blacks in the bar means him and his staff don't discriminate? That's like saying because I don't discriminate on Friday, there's no possible chance I will discriminate on Saturday..?

  • RonnieR Aug 21, 2012

    WRAL posts pix of bar patrons here on this site. If you look at the Downtown Sports Bar pix you will see plenty of colored folks