NASHVILLE, Tenn. Feb 26 2017– Metro police say they’re seeing an increase in the number of reports of bouncers using excessive force.
They’re seeing the increase at their central precinct, which includes Downtown Nashville.
On Thursday, a bouncer was arrested for an incident that happened early Monday morning. News 2 spoke with one of the victims.
Olivia Grace says she and some friends went to Limelight nightclub on Woodland Street Sunday night. Her boyfriend and friend are in a rap group and there was a competition to open for the hip hop group Migos.
“My boyfriend and friend have been playing around local places, but the Migos competition was really exciting,” she told News 2.
She says the pair paid $100 to perform for four minutes. But when they took the stage, the bouncer stopped the performance after less than a minute.
“Our friend wanted a refund and that’s when the bouncer grabbed my friend by the throat and took him down to the ground,” Grace said. “All the while I heard my friend saying, ‘Please no, please stop.'”
Grace says her friend suffered a skull fracture, brain bleeding and two fractured shoulders. She told News 2 she tried to pull the bouncer off her friend and she suffered a gash on her leg.
Her friend was hospitalized and is now suing Limelight.
News 2 went to Limelight, which said the bouncer was self-employed but he doesn’t work for them anymore.
The bouncer, 45-year-old Richard Starks, told police the victim hit him first with the microphone but the affidavit shows that surveillance video didn’t corroborate his story. Starks was charged with aggravated assault, but Grace wants Limelight to take responsibility, too.
“They should definitely take accountability for hiring someone who would do that,” she said.
The victim is now at home but will likely have to return to the hospital for repeat follow-up visits.
Metro police say they’re not sure if the increase in reports is because there are more incidents or because more people are reporting the crimes.
Officers are working closely with downtown clubs to make sure patrons and bouncers are safe.