Raleigh bar discrimination claim goes into mediation
Posted August 20, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.