Local News

Man accuses downtown Raleigh bar of racial discrimination

Posted June 21, 2012 11:33 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2012 11:43 p.m. EDT

— A 21-year-old man who has sparked a social media firestorm with his allegations of racism at a downtown Raleigh bar will speak publicly for the first time Friday afternoon.

A press conference is scheduled for noon Friday at the State Capitol.

Jonathan Wall, a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says he was kicked out of the Downtown Sports Bar and Grill last weekend because he's black. He and his attorney are organizing the press event. 

Wall has received an outpouring of support after his story appeared on a colleague's blog. The blog quickly prompted social media and email campaigns. WRAL News received hundreds of emails and Facebook posts commenting on Wall's experience.

Some people have come forward saying they, too, have been discriminated against at the Glenwood Avenue sports bar.

An attorney for the bar, however, said the allegations are false. William Potter said the bar does not racially discriminate and that his clients take accusations of racial discrimination very seriously.

Last Saturday, Wall said he went to the bar with a friend, but they were initially told they couldn't come in because the bar required a membership. Once inside, Wall said he was quickly confronted by the bar's general manager, who said he had to "buy a drink or leave."

When he explained that he was just waiting for his friend to use the restroom, Wall said the manager physically restrained him and forcefully kicked him out.

Wall said there were no other black patrons in the bar.

Potter denied all the allegations except for the doorman's initial encounter with Wall.

"It appears that the complaint started with the fact that (Wall) did not have a membership, and this bar does require membership," he said. "It's a part of their liquor license with the ABC Commission."

Wall's supporters plan to protest outside the bar Saturday night.