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Protest Held at Nellie’s Sports Bar After Video Shows Black Woman Being Dragged Down the Stairs by Security

The bar says it’s conducting an investigation

Protestors outside of Nellie’s Sports Bar, with a view from across the street
Protesters gathered on Sunday evening at Nellie’s following a video that showed a black woman being aggressively pulled down the stairs inside the bar
Photo: Lenore Adkins/Eater DC

Protesters gathered on Sunday evening outside of Nellie’s Sports Bar in response to a disturbing video that appears to show a security guard pulling a Black woman down the stairs. The video, filmed on Saturday night during Pride weekend and posted on Twitter, looks to show the woman being dragged by her hair and arm, and also shows multiple people getting into an altercation at the bottom of the stairs.

As reported by WUSA9, 22-year-old Keisha Young said in an interview with the channel that she is the woman from the video and that she had nothing to do with what sparked the incident, which appears to be related to someone bringing a bottle into Nellie’s bar that evening. Young believes she was mistaken for someone else by the security guard in the video.

Nellie’s told Eater Monday afternoon that it has fired the security guard involved in the incident, who was an independent security vendor the bar brought in for Pride weekend.

Protesters gathered on Sunday evening outside of Nellie’s Sports Bar
Photo: Lenore Adkins/Eater DC

“On June 12th, I went to nellies sports bar and grille to celebrate pride and there I was dragged by the security guards for no reason,” Young wrote in a statement on GoFundMe, where she is raising money to help with her legal fees, medical fees, and therapy resulting from the skirmish at Nellie’s. She wrote that she lost her glasses and her iPhone, that her clothes were ripped off, and she is bruised and having trouble sleeping due to anxiety. The GoFundMe reads in part:

Im feeling a little humiliated to have went viral being assaulted by a black man who should be protecting me. I am a college student i attend Morgan state University and am graduating next year and I’m just happy that it didn’t escalate too far and that I’m still here in my pain and grief still able to tell my story and get justice.

Eater reached out to Young for further comment.

Nellie’s Sports Bar did not respond immediately to a request for comment from Eater. They bar released a statement on its Instagram page on Sunday that reads:

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.

Nellie’s later emailed a more extensive statement to Eater, which 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.

Update: June 14, 4:45 p.m: This article was updated to include an additional statement by Nellie’s.