Local News

Raleigh discrimination rally fosters dialogue about racism

Posted June 30, 2012 8:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2012 9:33 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.