Morehouse Alum Kicked Out of Raleigh, NC Sports Bar; Alleges Racial Discrimination
Morehouse College alumnus Jonathan Wall is capturing national attention today after allegedly being kicked out of a sports bar in Raleigh, NC. Wall alleges physical assault against one of the employees of the Downtown Sports Bar and Grill, and says that local police officials did nothing to investigate the incident.
The details were first made public by North Carolina Central University professor Philip Christman. An excerpt:
We were downstairs for all of ten minutes, when my two friends dispersed. My friend Chris went to the bathroom, and my friend Kristin went upstairs to get some fresh air. Only a few seconds after they left, what appeared to be a bartender came from behind the bar to clean drinks off of one of the tall bar tables that was near me. After he cleaned the table, it looked as if he was headed back behind the bar when he came up to me and said “Either buy a drink or leave right now.” Again shocked, I replied “I’m just waiting for my friend to come back from the bathroom.” He responded, “I don’t care, get a drink or leave right now.” I said “Okay” and began texting. He walked away from me, then went and sat with his back to the bar as he stared me down. Being non-confrontational, I looked towards the bathroom, waiting to see my friend come out so that we could leave. I also took notice of how many of the people surrounding the bar and the club area didn’t have drinks in their hands. I felt as if I was singled out. The common denominator, again, was that I was the only black person around. After staring me down for about 30 seconds, he walked back over and said “Are you going to buy a drink, or are you going to leave?” I replied, “As soon as my friend comes from the bathroom.” Before I cold utter another word, he grabbed my right wrist and my left arm and threw them behind my head in an effort to constrain me, although I was speaking to him a calm and non-aggressive tone and didn’t once even gesture. He then used excessive force to push me through the crown and out of the club while I was still in this “headlock” of sorts, before pushing me out of the front door.
Christman’s blog has more detail, but the gist of the alleged injustice is here, for all to read and feel. This is the second high-profile incident of a Morehouse man being kicked out of an establishment, the last being two Morehouse alums being forcibly removed from an Ohio nightclub in 2010. That incident resulted in Morehouse grad Jason Ruiz issuing an apology to a Cleveland police officer.
The comments in response to Christman’s post tell a very diverse experience of African-Americans frequenting the bar. Some have experienced similar treatment, others have not. It will be interesting to see how local media and Black advocacy groups respond to this incident, and if North Carolina’s HBCU community, particularly NCCU, Shaw and Saint Aug’s, can mobilize focus on the matter.