WASHINGTON — Nellie's reopened nearly a month after it closed due to ongoing protests outside following a video that showed a security guard dragging a woman out of the establishment by her hair.
A manager said that the bar was opened Monday, and will open again Tuesday (today), for regular business hours.
But as the bar has only been opened back up for less than two days, people were outside the establishment, forming a human chain at the door to dissuade people from going inside.
Nellie's did let go of the security company whose officer was recorded dragging Keisha Young out of the bar on June 13 in the wake of the video being released on social media.
There are planned protests for Friday evening by a group that is still frustrated about what happened in June, during Pride Month, at the well-known LGBTQ bar.
ABRA, the District agency tasked to issue and renew licenses, assigned an investigator to the case. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board held a closed meeting to review the report and referred the case to the District's Office of Attorney General.
Young claimed the issue started when security misidentified her for another woman who they wanted to leave for allegedly bringing in a bottle from outside.
The investigator determined Nellie's had a difficult time removing patrons through a crowd as they pushed and shoved into other people and got involved in the altercations.
The ABRA report said Nellie's violated a D.C. Code specifically after "multiple assaults occurred inside of the establishment while the licensee was engaged in a method of operation conducive to unlawful conduct." The investigation began after ABRA received a call through the hotline and a letter from DC Police Chief Robert Contee requesting a hearing and review of the bar's operations.
The investigator obtained police reports, a 911 call from the bartender, surveillance footage and staff interviews including the unnamed security guard with NNB Security who dragged Young by her hair. He told the investigator that he was posted at the top of the stairs to keep the area clear and monitor the traffic going in and out of the restrooms, but chose to not say anything more, per the report.
The root of the issue stemmed from a group of people who brought in a bottle from outside and taking shots in front of a bartender, according to the report. A staff member said the group was asked to leave but when they reached the stairs, they began punching security personnel.
As seen on video, the crowd moved with some pushing and shoving to the stairwell door, the investigator reported. About four minutes later, surveillance cameras captured a man being shoved around and out of the doorway. The report then said, "as several patrons are shoving and pushing, throwing hands at each other while employees are observed pushing the patrons to the stairs."
The investigator didn't identify who was in the group.
Video recorded by bystanders shows pushing, shoving and punching in the crowd. Young is seen punching in one video recorded by a bystander.
However, Young and her cousin Dayon Kidd reacted with their recollection of what happened. They claimed security guards assaulted Kidd for no reason when he questioned them over the alleged mistaken identity. Attorneys said Young, as seen on video, physically got involved in an attempt to protect Kidd.
One of the other people involved in the altercation reported how a security guard knocked his phone out of his hand as he was recording the incident before he was punched in the face. The owner of NNB Security told the investigator his company has a "no-touch" policy but allows security to "maybe hold patrons under their arms to escort them out of the establishment but they should not be punching anyone."
Kidd’s attorney Justin Hollimon sent a letter to Nellie’s to start an informal settlement negotiation. In the letter, Hollimon said, “Mr. Kidd has sought medical treatment for injuries sustained and does seek compensation from your bar for his physical, mental, and emotional injuries sustained as a result of this occurrence.”
The attorney for Keisha Young has recently been in contact with a representative of Nellie’s. Brandon Burrell told WUSA9 there is interest to reach a resolution by settling outside of court. He said the insurance company for Nellie’s is still investigating and currently has no position moving forward.
As the civil matter continues, Burrell declined an interview with WUSA9.