WASHINGTON — Nellie's Sports Bar said Monday it had terminated, with immediate effect, the security service it had employed after videos show a woman dragged by her hair out of the bar Saturday evening, sparking protests.
A protest was held on Sunday outside of Nellie's Sports Bar in the Shaw neighborhood following the video that made its way around Instagram.
The protest started around 6:30 p.m. Sunday with dozens of people shouting and holding signs outside of the bar.
Nellie's, a popular LGBTQ+ bar within the D.C. community, was one of many packed establishments on Saturday and benefited from an early in the day Pride parade and the recent lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions in the District.
Nellie's released a statement on Monday that addressed its termination of the security service and said that it would be closed for the remainder of the 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."
D.C. Police did enter Nellie's Sports Bar around 8 p.m. Sunday after the protest, with patrons inside leaving shortly after because of the number of people who gathered outside.
Below is a video that was shared with WUSA9 (***Graphic Warning***):
Keisha Young, 22, of Maryland, told WUSA9's John Henry that she was the woman seen being dragged out of Nellie's in that viral video on Instagram.
When we asked her what should happen next, she said, “I want them [Nellie's] gone."
Young maintained she did nothing to deserve the treatment she received during her visit to Nellie’s. She said the incident happened shortly after she walked up the stairs to the bar.
"It was an altercation in there,” she said. “They were trying to get some other people out because somebody else brought a bottle in there. Somehow I got mixed up in an altercation because I look like somebody else and I got hit and dragged down the steps."
She said she appreciated the support she received from protesters at Nellie’s Sunday.
"I didn't expect it to turn into something like this, to be honest, but I'm feeling very warm that a lot of people are out here helping support me,” Young said.
A new video shared with WUSA9 Wednesday shows moments leading up to when Young was seen being dragged out of Nellie's.
The footage shows that a woman, who appears to be Young, was involved in a physical altercation right before she was dragged down the stairs at Nellie's.
Young can be seen repeatedly swinging at a person in the middle of a fight seconds before the camera flipped to the person recording the video and she was dragged down the staircase. The reason behind the incident remains unclear.
Nellie's initially released a statement on Instagram Sunday amid the protest:
"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."
While the protest was going on, there was a shooting a few blocks away that happened near the intersection of 8th Street and Florida Avenue. It does not appear to be a part of the protest outside of Nellie's Sports Bar.