Nellie's cuts ties with security vendor after video of woman being dragged down stairs sparks outrage

Monday evening, an emailed statement from Nellie’s Sports Bar offered an apology saying they immediately terminated the relationship with an independent security vendor hired by the popular D.C. establishment to provide more security for Pride Week.

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The full statement reads:

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.

Thank you.

The Nellie’s Family

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"How can they supportive of anyone if they’re treating anyone like this," 22-year-old Keisha Young told FOX 5 DC. Young said she’s the one seen in that viral video getting dragged down the steps of Nellie’s Sports Bar by security this past weekend.

Young said she was in D.C. celebrating Pride with family and friends when they went to the popular U St. establishment and had just gotten up to the second level.

The 22-year-old told FOX 5 she was mistaken for another woman who was having some kind of confrontation with Nellie’s staff over bringing her own bottle of alcohol to the bar.

"You know it’s a bar and the lights are dim, so once I finally did get into Nellie’s and I finally did walk up  all those steps, the security guard was right there. He looked at me and thought it was me and I guess he was telling me to get out. At this point, it think a lot was going on. I don’t exactly remember the words that was exchanged. All I remember is being like ambushed, being hit and being dragged," said Young, who said she is still limping and has bruises up and down her body.

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A protest gathered outside of Nellie’s on Sunday, which offered this statement online:
"We were incredibly upset and disturbed to see the unfortunate event that took place at Nellie’s last night. We are undergoing a full investigation of the situation. At Nellie’s we foster an inclusive and safe environment, so events like this are completely unacceptable to us."

"In that statement they haven’t apologize to Keisha," said Young’s attorney, Brandon Burrell, who also added, "I want to get the video surveillance. I think that would be something that Nellie’s could do to show some good faith."

Burrell told FOX 5 they are discussing filing a police complaint and potentially suing, but wanted to give the owner Nellie’s attorney a chance to reach out. As of Monday afternoon Burrell said that had not yet happened.

In an email to FOX 5, the city’s administration that manages liquor licenses confirmed they assign an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator to Nellie’s.

"Entrepreneurs enforce rules in their restaurants but they’re not allowed to assault anybody … and if that’s a matter, DC police will take it up" said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser when asked about the viral video.

"The footage of what happened at Nellie’s during DC Pride weekend is nauseating. Violence and aggressive behavior against women and people of color is completely unacceptable. This incident is particularly upsetting given that this establishment touts itself as a safe space for all. I support a full investigation of what occurred," said Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto in a statement to FOX 5.

A spokesperson for Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s office, which is the Ward Nellie’s is located in, told FOX 5 they are still reviewing the incident.