Woman Dragged By The Hair at DC Bar Nellie's Says Security Mistook Her for Someone Else
A college student who was dragged down a flight of stairs at a bar during D.C. Pride celebrations says the encounter left her injured and she believes bar security mistook her for someone else.
The bar, Nellie’s Sports Bar, apologized to her and said in a statement that they fired “the independent security vendor hired to protect our guests during Pride Week.” Management will close the bar for a week in the aftermath.
Cellphone video shows a bouncer at Nellie's pulling a Black woman down a staircase headfirst on Saturday night. The video went viral and led to protests outside the U Street NW bar the following night.
Keisha Young, the 22-year-old Morgan State University student shown in the video, said it never should have happened.
“I feel like, even just separating race from it, no man should ever handle a woman in that way. That should never be OK,” she said Monday on a video call with her lawyer.
Young went out on Saturday to celebrate D.C. Pride. At Nellie’s a bouncer mistook her for someone else, who tried to bring a bottle into the bar, she said.
The bouncer dragged her down the stairs as people at the foot of the stairs shouted and tried to pull him off of her.
Young left Nellie’s with “bruises all over,” she said.
“I’m pretty sure that I had a concussion, the way I was really throwing up. I had a really bad headache and everything was just dizzy. I couldn’t really focus,” she said.
Her lawyer, Brandon Burrell, called it “tragic.”
There was no 911 call for help or police report, but the incident caught the attention of Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“Obviously, entrepreneurs enforce rules in their restaurants. But they’re not allowed to assault anybody,” she said Monday.
Nellie’s said in an initial statement that management was “incredibly upset and disturbed to see what happened.” In a second statement, management said:
"Nellie’s Sports Bar has terminated, with immediate effect, the independent security vendor hired to protect our guests during Pride Week. Our investigation into the matter is ongoing, and we will cooperate with any law enforcement investigation, however we do not need to wait for the investigation’s conclusion before we take decisive action. We offer a heartfelt apology to all who witnessed the horrific events of this past weekend. No matter what behavior occurred prior, nothing warrants mistreating, and disrespecting, one of our guests.
What we can say is we have heard the concerns of the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. Nellie’s will be closed this week as we evaluate this regrettable situation, though we will continue to pay all non-security staff their normal wages. In the interim, we will use this time to listen and understand what more we can do to create the safe and friendly atmosphere our guests have come to expect from Nellie’s Sports Bar over the past 14 years."
The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will investigate the incident, a spokesman said Monday.
Young set up a fundraising page with a goal to raise $75,000 for medical bills, legal fees and mental therapy.