A rash of beatings at Nashville nightclubs raises the specter of violence

Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 11:45pm

Dan Herrin didn’t expect this. He’d come to Music City with his cousin for a night of honky-tonking. As it was, he found himself stepping backward across Fifth Avenue North, along Broadway, away from Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the large, angry bouncer who had chased him from Willie and Waylon’s old haunt.

It began with a closing-time disagreement over a $2 bottle of water, early on a Saturday morning, May 2 of last year. Herrin wanted a cup of tap water but was told he would have to pay for the bottled variety. It was apparently something he said to the bartender that angered bouncer John Martinez, who allegedly chased Herrin toward the bar’s front door before picking him up from behind and shoving him onto the sidewalk.

Herrin and Martinez hurled words at each other while the cousin stood between them, pleading for cooler heads to just “call it a night.” Martinez then allegedly moved toward Herrin, who backed away from the bouncer until he made it across Fifth Avenue.

Moments later, Herrin stood on the corner of Fifth and Broadway — half a block from where he’d just been bounced — thinking he was safe. That’s when, according to a subsequent lawsuit, a second Tootsie’s bouncer whom Herrin had earlier lost in the crowd cold-cocked him with a “final and decisive blow” from the blindside, sending him face first from the sidewalk onto the Broadway pavement.

His suit alleges that while Herrin lay injured with a head wound that would require more than 100 stitches, a torn ear lobe, six broken teeth, and cuts and bruises, his aggressors fled and evaded police. Messages left for Tootsie’s owner Steve Smith went unanswered.

Herrin’s suit is one of at least nine filed in Davidson County Circuit or U.S. District Court since 2008, all alleging that incidents with bar customers, many of them tourists, led to violent reactions from security staff. Most of the suits stem from incidents occurring after last call, with bouncers beating or detaining bar patrons. A few, however, involve arguments between patrons.

If successful, the suits could cost bar owners hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in settlements or damages. Regardless, the suits could damage the reputation of a city relying on tourists more than ever (the funding base for the new convention center, for instance, relies heavily on a presupposition that tourism will increase here).

Now, although a bill that would have allowed permit holders to bring guns into any establishment selling alcohol just last week lost its signature provision in the General Assembly, the question remains: Is there room in Nashville’s nightspots for heightened violence and heat-strapping patrons? Opponents say allowing guns in bars would lead to an explosive situation. Proponents say it’s a matter of rights for the citizens and businesses.

Told of the pending legislation, Herrin said “… it might actually give some of the patrons who are jumped by the bouncers down there literally a fighting chance. … Maybe you might have a chance if you pulled a piece on somebody. I’m halfway being facetious.”

The lawsuits

Much of the rough-and-tumble roadhouse action alleged in the lawsuits took place under downtown’s wash of neon, with Lower Broadway and Second Avenue drawing the most flies.

Mark Lampen and Chris Hulsey had been to a skiing-themed costume party on Feb. 8, 2009, before they tried to enter Broadway’s Cadillac Ranch, according to their lawsuit, filed on April 1 of last year. A security guard told Lampen he’d have to leave his skis outside, and after doing so nearby, the two tried again to enter. The guard, identified in the lawsuit as John Wesley Whiteside, told them to “Get the f--- out of here.”

When Hulsey asked why they had to leave, Whiteside allegedly started punching him and threw him into a parked car and a parking meter. Whiteside then punched Lampen in
the face.

On Nov. 22, 2008, commercial truck driver Paul Anderson stopped overnight in Nashville as required by his trucking company. While he and a business associate were at Fuel on Second Avenue, an unrelated fight broke out and everyone was told to leave the club.

As he was leaving, Anderson realized he had left some of his belongings inside, and he told staff members, who returned everything but his cell phone. He went to the front door of the club to try to find his phone, but according to a suit filed Nov. 20, 2009, security guards stood at the door with Tasers drawn.

When Anderson explained why he needed to get back into the bar, “The security guards, without provocation by [Anderson],” Tasered him, according to the suit. As Anderson turned to run, he was Tasered again, this time in the back, causing him to fall and injure his knee. Messages left at Fuel seeking comment were not returned.

For Scott Sanders, it was 2 a.m. argument with a bartender that led to his lawsuit, which claims he was assaulted, battered and falsely imprisoned at the Cadillac Ranch on Broadway in January 2008.

“Mr. Sanders went into the Cadillac Ranch, and he was assaulted by three of the members of the security force there for seemingly no reason,” said Radford Dimmick, Sanders’ attorney. “My client said something to the bartender. I think the bartender may have misunderstood it, and then he punched [Sanders].”

According to that suit, the bouncers then grabbed Sanders, took him downstairs and tossed him to the curb before handcuffing him, dragging him back inside and locking him in a room until police arrived. Dimmick said the bouncers beat Sanders repeatedly, to the point where he was unconscious when officers got there and had to be taken to the hospital.

Troy Weaver also claims Cadillac Ranchers roughed him up after he and friends, in town from Walton, Ky., to celebrate his birthday, were told “You need to get the ‘f’ out of here,” according to court filings. Weaver explained he was waiting to pay his tab when another bouncer chimed in with “You guys are ‘f’ gone.”

When Weaver’s designated driver spoke up about the bouncers’ language, they allegedly put Weaver and his friends in chokeholds and dragged them toward the entrance, where Weaver claims he was hit in the back of the head and rendered semiconscious, face down on the sidewalk. The suit claims Weaver was then carried inside to a back room and beaten again before his ambulance ride to Baptist Hospital.

Cadillac Ranch attorney Brad Gilmer, based in Memphis, said it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation. Messages left for the owner and general manager went unanswered.

Hermitage resident Andrew Felts claims that in July 2009, a Decades Night Club bouncer choked and beat him before throwing him into the street, breaking his arm along the way. Decades owner Kirk Evans declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit.

And on July Fourth, Donald Nickens and his wife, Treva, were kicked out of Coyote Ugly shortly after she refused to dance on the bar, according to the lawsuit they filed against the club. When Donald Nickens asked why they were being ejected, he alleges a bouncer grabbed him around the throat and dragged him to the back entrance of the club, where he and another bouncer beat him while he was on the floor, handcuffed him, called the cops and had him arrested. The arrest warrant says Nickens bit one of the bouncers during the tussle.

Reached for comment by The City Paper, Nickens said he had no recollection of why the argument started or exactly how it went down. He just went downtown to enjoy the fireworks, he said. Management at Coyote Ugly did not return a voicemail message.

Bouncers aren’t the only ones allegedly beating patrons. Leigh Taylor Richardson of Williamson County went to a crowded show at 12th & Porter around Dec. 12, 2008, the same night Nathan and Leigh Ann Mann set up a camera and tripod to photograph the show. Apparently the Manns didn’t like Richardson’s dancing, or at least how close it came to their equipment.

Richardson and others danced with the band onstage for the final song of the set, and when she returned to the crowd, Richardson claims Leigh Ann Mann lifted her from behind and jammed a knee into her back. Then, as the show lights went off, Nathan Mann allegedly used the tripod to beat Richardson about the face and head.

Attempts to reach the Manns and Richardson’s lawyer, James Weatherly, were unsuccessful.

Richardson isn’t the only bar patron alleging this kind of attack.

William Bolt II, who lived in Davidson County and has since moved to Alabama, celebrated New Year’s Eve 2008 at Second Avenue’s Graham Central Station. Bolt’s lawsuit claims the seven-bar complex didn’t provide enough security when it over-served two men who in turn — “and without provocation,” according to his suit — attacked him with a beer bottle before hitting and kicking him until he was unconscious.

Messages left at Graham Central Station and with Bolt’s attorney, John Lowery, were not returned.

Assaults down despite recent trend

While many of these alleged incidents took place from mid-2008 through 2009, North Precinct Commander Damien Huggins of Metro police said he and his men have taken steps to address bar and nightclub security issues they’ve identified. He said serious assaults are down 20.1 percent from 2008 to 2009, and down 2 percent for the first three months of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009.

Huggins said he and his team “started looking at how we could address the situations and do something to be proactive with the police department in working with our clubs and their security forces.” That meant educating bar owners, communicating with them and working with them to make sure club security personnel responsibly addressed crowds and regulated safety.

Metro police have adopted some best-practices guidelines from the New York City Police Department. Huggins and company ensure that security guards are licensed, check a club’s maximum capacity and make sure the club is staffed appropriately.

“On best practices, we give suggestions on how to manage security at clubs — we don’t give actual instruction,” Huggins said. “If we’ve ever seen incidents where we felt like security [personnel] at a club needed to pay attention to how their security was handling things, we’ve met with the managements and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’

“We’ve had some real proactive efforts,” Huggins continued. “We’re getting to these places because we have good relationships with our businesses, our residents and the community groups.”

Would guns in bars increase violence?

Last year’s version of the bill allowed customers to carry guns into a restaurant or bar as long as food was its main source of income, not alcohol. But in November, Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman deemed the law unconstitutionally vague because customers wouldn’t be able to determine whether they were violating the law.

This year’s version, sponsored in the state House by Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, would have removed any vagueness by allowing permit holders to carry guns anywhere
alcohol is served. It would’ve still been illegal for customers carrying guns to drink alcohol, and bars would’ve been allowed to post signs prohibiting guns to be carried inside.

But last week, a House committee backed off the full guns-in-bars bill, amending the legislation to include only food-service establishments. The bill puts the onus on bars
and nightclubs, requiring them to post signs disallowing guns.

“I thought it was a disaster waiting to happen,” said Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville, who sponsored the amended version. “It offended the general public on average and it violates the promises we made last year.”

As of the deadline for this story, the bill still had to pass a vote in the Senate and another of the full House.

Regardless, if history informs, then the General Assembly won’t totally back off allowing permitted handgun owners to pack heat in bars. But would that bring greater risk to officers and citizens? Or, with the knowledge that someone in the bar might legally be carrying a gun, would people be deterred from violence?

Huggins said cops on the street don’t allow themselves the luxury of an opinion on the matter.

“We’ll deal with those situations as they come up,” Huggins said. “Just like any law, once the legislative body of the state of Tennessee decides that this is the law … we adapt to it, and we enforce those laws. We try to make sure we do it in a reasonable and professional manner.”

His boss has made clear his disapproval of the proposed guns-in-bars law.

Police spokesman Don Aaron recently reiterated Chief Ronal Serpas’ sentiments to The City Paper following debate in the state House Finance, Ways and Means Committee two weeks ago.

“Chief Serpas’ position on guns in bars has not changed,” Aaron said. “He continues to believe the concept is not conducive to public safety and is not good public policy. … [He] has not changed his posture since this type of legislation was first introduced a year ago.”

Will Hawkins, the attorney representing Dan Herrin, said the answer is clear.

“No one — handgun carry permit holder or not — needs to go carry a gun into a bar where alcohol is served,” he said.

Hawkins, who represents downtown bar owners in different types of cases, said, “I think the consensus is that it is not a good idea, but I can’t say that all of the bar owners disfavor allowing guns in bars.”

But attorney Radford Dimmick said a new guns-in-bars law might not turn up the heat in late-night bar fights.

“It depends on who has the weapon, whether or not they’re drunk,” he said. “Would it cause aggression? It depends on the person.”

On April 13 in the House Finance Committee, Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Glen Casada of Williamson County opposed Rep. Gary Odom’s amendment that would increase the penalty for gun-carry permit holders who are caught drinking while packing. Casada argued for letting permitted gun-carriers sort out bar violence themselves.

“So let’s let the good guys, those that go through the permitting process and are citizens who obey the law, let’s let them see if we can’t stop some of this violence that’s going
on in our bars and in our restaurants,” he said during the committee hearing.

Casada doesn’t think a guns-in-bars law would make things worse in the heart of Nashville’s tourist district.

“We know already there are guns in bars,” he said. “It’s just that the bad guys bring them, and they shoot the patrons and they shoot the bouncers.”

Todd said regardless of suits filed alleging bar violence, allowing guns to be carried in establishments serving alcohol would have no effect whatsoever, and it all boils down to Second Amendment rights of business owners and individuals to carry guns.

“I don’t think the bill will affect it at all,” he said. “The key to it is that owners have the right to post — if they post, then you can’t carry in there, anyway.”

If owners don’t post restrictions, then they feel comfortable letting patrons carry inside their bars. As for those who aren’t permit holders, he added, “Guess what: They’re going to carry anyway. They’re carrying now, probably, in [bars].”

Todd pointed to the four-month period last year when guns were allowed in alcohol-serving establishments, as long as food was their main revenue source.

“You didn’t have any problems last year when we passed that statute, before the judge ruled on the constitutionality of it. Everybody in the media said, ‘Oh, we’re going to have all of these problems.’ There wasn’t one problem.”

Reminded of numerous incidents of violence in bars over that time period, some of which have been laid out in this story, Todd said, “How do you know it was by a carry
permit holder? Was it a carry permit holder that beat the guy up?”

Casada told The City Paper that Tennessee is currently one of the most violent states, and what’s being done to protect citizens isn’t working.

Brian Malte, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, agreed, but sees the solution in tightening, not loosening, gun laws. Last year, the Brady Campaign ranked Tennessee near the bottom in terms of strength of gun laws, giving it eight out of 100 points.

“Tennessee virtually has no state gun laws that keep guns away from dangerous people or stop the illegal trafficking of guns,” he said. “Little to no laws at all.”

Malte said there’s a myth that permit holders are automatically law-abiding citizens. He pointed to a study published by the Violence Policy Center that conludes, “permit holders actually are the ones injuring other people or killing other people.”

Malte said guns-in-bars bills are part of a bigger push to allow guns anywhere, anytime, anyplace. The National Rifle Association is a driving force of such legislation. A representative of the NRA did not return a phone message.

Some named in suits had carry permits

On March 21, 2008, Scott and Sarah Kerr of Dallas and another couple visited Nashville looking for what many tourists come to Music City for — a spot to eat, drink and enjoy live music.

The two couples spent three hours at The Tin Roof on Demonbreun before last call arrived early the next morning. That’s when Scott Kerr’s pending lawsuit claims Wesley Stephens and other employees began pushing patrons, including his wife, out of the joint.

“You’re not going to let somebody like that do that to your wife or your girlfriend, so he goes up to take a picture of him” to show management later, said C.J. Gideon, Kerr’s lawyer.

Outside the bar, Kerr’s wife wanted to complain to management and asked for Stephens’ name; he told her. When Kerr — a third-year law student at Tulane University at the time — turned and took a few photos, the 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound ex-Arena Football League player Stephens allegedly snapped. Kerr’s suit claims Stephens attacked him from behind, ripped the camera out of his hands, tackled him, pinned him, and began choking him while bouncing his head off the pavement.

“Stephens spins him around, kicks his legs out from underneath him, literally takes him down to the brick pavers in front of The Tin Roof and slams his face into the pavers repeatedly after pulling his arms back so there’s no way he can protect his face,” Gideon said.

Ignoring Sarah Kerr’s pleas to stop, Stephens kept punching and slamming Scott Kerr’s head into the pavement before taking the camera and going back inside, the suit claims.

Following the alleged attack, Kerr “looked like someone who had gone 17 rounds with George Foreman and lost every single one of the rounds,” Gideon said.

Gideon said Kerr suffered physical disfigurement and brain damage that night, and he now has trouble with memory recall. He said a neurophysiologist likened it to having “a very small bookshelf, and you can’t get the books off of the shelf.”

Tin Roof owner Jason Sheer refused to comment on advice from counsel. Stephens deferred to attorney Ronald L. Grimm, who didn’t immediately respond to a message left at his office.

Stephens did confirm, however, that he has a Tennessee gun-carry permit, which according to a database of carry permits provided online by The Commercial Appeal was issued June 19, 2008, three months after he allegedly beat Kerr.

The City Paper found two names that appeared to match defendants in the above lawsuits but could not independently confirm those matches.

As for Herrin’s Music City experience, he told The City Paper there’s an “element of thuggery” in Nashville bars that gives him pause to go back — “too many bad memories.”

“I think in New Orleans you have to fear the criminals in the French Quarter; apparently, in Nashville you have to fear the security staff,” Herrin said. “What’s it going to take, somebody being killed?”

31 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 4/26/10 at 4:35

While not having problems myself with these bouncers,
I've seen on more than one occasion their desire to use
some of that steroid strength that they've acquired and
to bully people far beyond necessary for the situation;
Metro Police always declare the patron guilty on the
spot when the bouncers call after these incidents.
I guess it's a "Downtown Alliance" undeclared law to
allow this type behavior!

By: richgoose on 4/26/10 at 5:47

Anyone frequenting one of these bars has to remember that a bouncer is a physical specimen with probably a lower than average IQ. He works for small wages and should be considered very dangerous.

They have probably tried to become policemen and their education and IQ just prevents it.

You can expect trouble when trouble meets trouble. Believe these guys are as much trouble as the people who confront them.

By: WittySage on 4/26/10 at 6:05

This is precisely why we need guns in bars. Adding guns to these situation will not keep the violence limited to the victim the bouncers are beating, but will expand it to the other innocent by standards who take a stray bullet.

Wont be any worse for the assault victim shooting at the bouncers, Metro cops side with the bouncers now matter how many of them are standing around a bloody small guy or girl they handcuffed to a toilet.

By: budlight on 4/26/10 at 6:25

Silly question I"m about to ask: How many of those who participated in these "incidents" had carry permits? How many were carrying? None, probably.

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Responsible gun owners usually don't end up in drunken bar brawls.

By: xhexx on 4/26/10 at 6:47

And the tourist board or and chamber of commerce are worried about bars posting "no guns" signs are going to scare off tourists? I hope this article gets picked up by one of the national news services.

How is it, with witnesses etc, these bouncers aren't getting arrested? This absolutely proves you can't count on the police to "protect" you.

By: GUARDIAN on 4/26/10 at 7:04

Rep. Harry Tindell, D-Knoxville is a moron so now with that said everything written here has nothing to do with a permit holder that isn't allowed by law to drink alcohol if carrying a gun. Chief Serpas is a politically correct progressive who should be worrying about the crime that is happening in Nashville, the gangs and the beating in and around bars and not trying to take away constitutional rights of the people. The media and socialist gun haters need to shut up and sit down and have a drink together. Carry permit holders won't be having a drink with you because they don't want to and it's not allowed by law if they are armed.

By: TITAN1 on 4/26/10 at 8:01

Guns and alcohol? No problems with that combo, huh? I mean, what could happen?

By: dogmrb on 4/26/10 at 8:44

Why not have bars that are for people who like to fight, carry guns and smoke while drinking? And then have bars for people who don't like to fight, carry guns or smoke while drinking? Whose rights are being trampled if you don't want to be around smoking, drinking, fighting, gun slingers? And I assume that bouncers would have guns too!

By: localboy on 4/26/10 at 9:42

"Messages left for Tootsie’s owner Steve Smith went unanswered."
"Messages left at Fuel seeking comment were not returned."
"Messages left at Graham Central Station and with Bolt’s attorney, John Lowery, were not returned."
"Attempts to reach the Manns and Richardson’s lawyer, James Weatherly, were unsuccessful."
"A representative of the NRA did not return a phone message."
"Tin Roof owner Jason Sheer refused to comment on advice from counsel. Stephens deferred to attorney Ronald L. Grimm, who didn’t immediately respond to a message left at his office."
Wow, dude, nobody likes talking to you.
Also..."As for those who aren’t permit holders, he added, “Guess what: They’re going to carry anyway. They’re carrying now, probably, in [bars].” Well, if that's the case, why doesn't Metro do some sweeps and make arrests? It's against the law, right? Maybe both sides are guilty of using the fear of the other to advance their respective causes...

By: PromosFriend on 4/26/10 at 9:57

".....Malte said there’s a myth that permit holders are automatically law-abiding citizens. He pointed to a study published by the Violence Policy Center that conludes, “permit holders actually are the ones injuring other people or killing other people.”.......... " Laughable, just plain laughable. We all know how unbiased studies from the VPC are (sarcasm intended).

"...........Stephens did confirm, however, that he has a Tennessee gun-carry permit, which according to a database of carry permits provided online by The Commercial Appeal was issued June 19, 2008, three months after he allegedly beat Kerr."............

Notice the words, "three months after", and "allegedly." In other words, Stephens did not have a gun on him (at least legally) at the time of the alleged beating and didn't use one regardless of whether he had one on him that night anyway. And, he obtained the permit because he had apparently not been charged and certainly not convicted. I am not defending Stephens nor am I supporting Kerr getting beat up. What I am saying is that that paragraph had nothing substantive to add to the article.


By: Chris H on 4/26/10 at 10:22


Actually, I worked as a bouncer in downtown Nashville for several years and believe it or not I have a rather high IQ, but I will say there were some bouncers that feel into your generalization. The pay for the crew I worked with was great, most of us made a minimum of $14 hr. That is not bad money for a 21-28 year old going to school full time, as many of us were. So don't lump us all together. The scene in Nashville has changed since I worked down there 11 years ago and I hate to hear stories like these, were an innocent patron was assaulted by a bouncer having a bad night or a bouncer that was just an a^^hole. But I also know how an abusive drunk can "forget" details of the incident and blame the entire thing on a bouncer. So don't judge all bouncers so quickly, most of them nice guys that would rather talk a situation down and not get physical, because when you get physical you have failed at your job. At least that is the way my crew felt.

By: cookeville on 4/26/10 at 10:25

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Responsible gun owners usually don't end up in drunken bar brawls."

I agree with your statement; However, with the new law allowing guns in bars, it is conceivable, if not likely, that there will be deaths or severe injuries occurring. The problem is that legally, with this law, nothing will be done until AFTER the fact. If people cannot control their own fears and anger, then how else do we PREVENT some of it from resulting in injuries/death except to outlaw guns in places where liquor/beer is sold? We all know that there are those with gun permits who are angry, fearful, mentally unbalance, and otherwise impaired. So what is the answer? I know my answer would be to never frequent a place where both guns AND liquor are allowed. In fact, frequenting any beer hall is probably not a wise thing to do. JMO

By: DDG on 4/26/10 at 10:43

People need to sue when this type of thing happens. It's not up to the police to make a civil decision on the spot. Get a lawyer and take their money if they can't monitor their employees behavior.

By: richgoose on 4/26/10 at 11:23

CHRIS H...........

I have been around a long time so I will not change my generalization of bouncers.

I can tell by your sentence structure and your defense mode however that I owe you an apology.

By: TharonChandler on 4/26/10 at 11:39

One of the worst things about a great time is any possibility of being 'wrongfully thrown out' of it. Some people are always trying to 'hog the attractive women'; in life and at many good clubs like in Hollywood CA. It is nice when you are liked and have enough money to spend and it sucks if ya get thrown out or couldn't afford to get in.

In my time I have rarely been thrown out nor did I have to eject several persons when i once worked a door, and though I often go to sleep by 9pm these days I still love being accepted at good parties. I offer my apologies for any party or patron i might have messed up and I look forward to being courteous to every lady and outlaw.

By: acesrule on 4/26/10 at 12:59

Oddly, NONE of the plaintiffs had done ANYTHING wrong...the mean ole bouncers just decided to let some random aggression out on them? Obviously dont have enough info to truly know what happened, but if you have been at a bar up until 2am, guarantee you were drunk, probably very drunk, and recollections of the events are foggy, at best. We like to call it Time Travel (when you can't remember the previous nights events.) Not saying the bouncers didn't over react, or could be on a bit of a power trip, but some of these people's versions of the stories are ridiculous, and certainly not worth of clogging up the courts, so they can walk away with tons o' cash, for being drunk and stupid. I'm sure some of these have merit...maybe 20%. Guns in bars - insane. Not that people dont already do it, but to promote it is over the top.

By: dargent7 on 4/26/10 at 1:31

Excellent article.
Disturbed by all the "didn't return our repeated phone calls for comment...."
Since I'm in bed at 10:00pm, sometimes 9:00pm, I never witness these beatings.
I do remember in the old days "last call" at 2:00am to be a rough time, everyone's drunk and tired.
But, if these 'security" bouncers are doing what the report says, the clubs and bars will be sued blind.
Guns-in-Bars legislation is dumber than coal.

By: idgaf on 4/26/10 at 3:49

Think of all the taxpayer money that is spent "luring" patrons to these businesses.

By: idgaf on 4/26/10 at 4:41

btw tootsi's or other bars like it would not qualify to carry guns in there.

By: fairtradewins on 4/26/10 at 10:44

I was assaulted by bouncers and dropped down a spiral staircase in Nov. 2007 at Layl' A Rul Restaurant in Nashville. I was traumatized for several days and regret that I never pursued legal action against the owner and management of this business.

By: HCPforme on 4/27/10 at 4:00

Oddly enough TCA 39-17-1305 C 2 allows for the possession of a firearm in a "bar" by security guards apparently without a permit.

"(2) On the person's own premises or premises under the person's control or who is the employee or agent of the owner of the premises with responsibility for protecting persons or property"

So when the so called hospitality folks complain about THEIR ability to carry in a "bar" maybe then you can trust their motives.

By: drusie on 4/27/10 at 6:59

Good article. Rough story about this rough crowd. Think I'll drink at home.

By: NewYorker1 on 4/27/10 at 8:02

I am not surprised. When I drive downtown, I see absolutely NO class, just trash.

Does Nashville have any spots for people who make six or seven figures?

By: DDG on 4/27/10 at 10:43


Yes, and they aren't downtown.

By: localboy on 4/27/10 at 3:56

Actually, they are but we aren't talking...you can spot the entrances by looking for the doormen/bouncers with the pearl-handle tazers...

By: Kelliente on 4/27/10 at 4:50

@NewYorker1 "Does Nashville have any spots for people who make six or seven figures?"

Yes. It's a spot called "stuck up your own ass."
You should probably go back to NY and find someone to help you look for it.

By: thorninyourside79 on 4/27/10 at 5:10

In reference to the article “Bar the door” by James Nix; which views Downtown Nashville’s club security personnel as nothing more than thugs wanting to hurt people; I must simply say Mr. Nix, do you really have any idea what you are talking about? As a professional in the security industry I am contracted downtown every weekend to provide security for patrons and establishments and I am generally offended by your lack of insight and judgmental bias towards those in this field of work.
You obviously lacked the interest to do a thorough investigation and develop research for your story. It appears that you went directly off the stories from victims who as you even state your self, “were arrested and sent to jail”. Now please explain to me how security was in the wrong if these individuals ended up being sent to jail by metro police department?
I freely admit there are a few bad apples that use excessive force; and I am as appalled by their behavior as you; however that is not the rule here in Nashville. Any group large enough will have individuals that are bullies or worse... These individuals that do use excessive force should not only be fired for their behavior but have their security licenses taken away and charges pressed against them for assault. Those that have been unjustly assaulted I honestly regret your injury and my heart goes out to you.
However on the flip side of the issue, you, Mr. Nix have no idea what it is like to have to deal with drunken testosterone filled people wanting to fight and cause problems. How many times have you been shot at or had a knife pulled on you by a disorderly individual? How many times have you had to give CPR to an innocent by stander that was assaulted by a drunken disorderly patron? How many times have you had to literally fear for your life in order to protect others? We in the security industry have to take a lot of punishment verbally, mentally, and physically just to protect people like you and allow you to have a good time out downtown. I can assure you no one would have any problems with security if they would act like adults and behave; and simply follow the laws of the state and the rules POSTED by the establishment. True sometimes we in the security industry have to get down and dirty with unruly patrons; but would you rather we didn’t and allow that patron to smash a beer bottle over your head or grab your wife’s rear end? These individuals are the cause of the violence, NOT security. They are the ones that act up and start problems and when asked to leave; refuse to do so and become violent against security. So in return we have to use assertive tactics based on our experience and the threat level perceived to protect ourselves and patrons such as you, Mr. Nix. Here is another hint, every club and bar has cameras everywhere to record all incidents. These videos are used by us to help enforce prosecution against these unruly patrons that are sent to jail.
Security can be a stressful and VERY dangerous job that pays very little for a high risk environment with lots of required work and odd hours. People don’t do security to get rich; they do it because they like to protect people (except for the few bad apples).
In reference to your argument about hand guns in bars; I must simply say with out a doubt that it should be NO! I don’t care if you are an off duty police officer, firearms inside bars and clubs is the worst idea ever. Unless you are on duty and working as a properly trained law enforcement or security personnel then you have no business having a firearm in side such establishments. I am fully armed, licensed, certified, and insured through the state when I work at these establishments with a firearm, tazer, baton, and chemical spray; and trust me sometimes you need every bit of it. In my opinion all clubs and bars should have some sort of search prior to entering the premises to make sure patrons are not bringing in weapons. I can’t tell you how many times we have pulled pistols off drunken felons with gang affiliations inside these clubs and the drugs confiscated are countless (even inside the honkey tonks and within yuppie crowds as well). Also there was a statement in your article about it being safer in New Orleans. I work volunteer in New Orleans often for Mardi' gras with law enforcement and all I can say is people need to know what they are talking about before they make comments on something they have no idea about.
All in all I just want to say that your article is not only offensive but down right judgmental. If anything you have only succeeded in hurting industry downtown by giving tourist and patrons a sense of fear of security when really we are the ones that are there to protect you. So thanks for being blindly arrogant of truth, lax in an effort to thoroughly conduct the proper research needed, and for making down town's economy a little bit harder on an industry based on tourism by scaring the tourist. And “The City Paper” itself should be ashamed of such nonsense and publishing anything that will hurt the city’s economy

By: ameshkin on 5/3/12 at 12:27

Years, ago an overweight, uneducated pos kicked me out of Hurricanes in Nashville, for absolutely no reason.

Well, the reason was that he just wanted to. he always gave me dirty looks before, and once had to tell me to get off the raised section he called a "vip" area.

Only reason I was there, is because my DJ friend asked me to get his drink.

Long story short,

fat loser who probably makes no more than $10 an hour today, puts his hand on the back off my neck with all his pudgy 5"4 200 lbs, and uses my NECK AS A HAND STAND.

he shines his flashlight, at two people, then turns aroudn as I figure out what just happened almost ont he ground.

He points the light at me, and bucks up and starts yelling something.

I ask him what he's saying, since we're right by the speakers

2 seconds later, I find myself in a neck lock for almost 30 seconds being thrown INTO A COP OUTSIDE.

On purpose. he could of just thrown me, but he th rew me and I bumped into a cop.






By: ameshkin on 5/3/12 at 12:28

I would mention names of THE TRASH involved, but I live in nashville.

they will sue and still win. meanwhile i'm on probation because some hill billy decided to steal my stuff and make some cashg extorting money from me to get it back



By: ameshkin on 5/3/12 at 12:29

here is proof that ther eis no class in this city.

@NewYorker1 "Does Nashville have any spots for people who make six or seven figures?"

Yes. It's a spot called "stuck up your own ass."
You should probably go back to NY and find someone to help you look for it.

By: standingonthetop on 8/26/12 at 12:05

this is for "ameshkin"

Sounds to me like you got EXACTLY what your little punk ass...smart mouthed...camel jockey...piece of shit...desert rat ****ing...little queer self needed!

A good ol' REDNECK ASS BEATIN''! lol

And by the way...you can LEAVE ANY TIME YOU WANT asshole!