21 year-old Johnathan Wall was assaulted and denied entry into a sports bar in Raleigh, North Carolina because of his race.
It was an obvious case of discrimination. He arrived at the front door of the establishment with his two friends, and was promptly told they could not enter because they didn’t have a “membership.” Confused, the group pressed the bouncer about this new “membership policy” and, after seeing a police officer approaching them, he finally let them in.
Once inside, Wall was harrassed, humiliated and brutalized by the bar’s manager.
“Once inside, Wall was accosted by an employee [who he later learned was the bar’s manager] after standing near the bar by himself for a few moments. “Either buy a drink or leave right now,” the man told him. Wall said he was waiting for his friend to come back from the bathroom, but man insisted he had to buy a drink right away. When Wall continued to look for his friend, the employee physically attacked him:
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. As soon as he grabbed me, I let my body go limp because with the degree of force he was already using, I didn’t want him to think I was trying to fight back. I accepted that he was on an ego-trip, and let him guide me through the club in this position before pushing me out. I was completely shocked and more saddened that this was happening than angry.”
Wall flagged down a police officer for help, but the officer was more interested in dissuading the young man from pressing the issue than seeking justice. Meanwhile, the bar’s manager claimed he had three witnesses that would lie and say Wall was being violent and unruly in the bar. Feeling cornered, Wall chose not to take legal action.
Instead, he wrote a kickass blog about the incident and sent it to as many people as possible through social media. It’s garnering loads of attention and support. A movement seems to be brewing to get this racist bar shut down.
“One early commenter, 21-year-old Karimah Shepherd, had a similar experience at the bar — down to the “membership” excuse, the furious manager, and the lackadaisical police response — and started a Facebook group after coming across Wall’s story. Less than 24 hours later, it has almost 3,000 members. She told us that their goal is to garner media attention, and it’s working: a local newspaper is planning a front page story, WRAL is investigating the incident, and a large protest at the bar is planned for next Saturday. Shepherd said at least 50 people have emailed her about their own horrible Downtown Sports Bar and Grill experiences. “It’s shocking how much support we’ve gained in such a short time,” she said, sounding overwhelmed.”
What does Jonathan Wall’s story say about the power of social media in combating racism?
Have you ever been treated poorly or denied entry into an establishment because of race?
Sound off below!