Woman dragged by hair seen fighting in D.C. bar brawl; lawyer claims self-defense

Keisha Young says that she was only defending herself in fight prior to being manhandled by security in a sports bar

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The Black woman who was captured on camera being dragged down a flight of steps at a popular gay bar in Washington DC on Saturday was caught up in a brawl right before she was ejected from the establishment — but she claims she was acting in self-defense. 

As theGRIO previously reported, Nellie’s Sports Bar, an LGBTQ+ friendly spot located in Washington D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood is under fire after a video went viral showing a security guard dragging Keisha Young, 22, by her hair down a flight of stairs. 

Below is the graphic video that was shared with WUSA9. Young told the outlet that she did nothing to warrant the mistreatment during her visit to celebrate Pride month. But someone else captured the events that unfolded inside the bar prior to Young’s violent encounter with a security guard.

According to TMZ, the new video shows a massive fight going down at the top of the stairs, and Young is seen in the mix throwing punches until she is tossed like a ragdoll toward a security guard. She then proceeds to unload on him too, he reacts, and that’s where the hair-dragging begins

The viral video prompted protestors to camp outside the establishment, calling for the bar to be shut down for good. The demonstrations started around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, with dozens of people rallying behind Young. 

“It was an altercation in there,” Young told reporters amid the protests. “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.”

Young’s attorneys told TMZ she was singled out due to her race, and despite the new video showing her wildin’ out inside Nellie’s, they’re still maintaining that, according to the report. 

Attorney Brandon Burrell says his client got caught up in the melee because she was defending her cousin, Dayon Kidd, when Nellie’s staffers and security team served him a beat down after some heated words were exchanged.

Apparently, Young and Kidd entered the bar and were immediately asked to leave when the guards accused Young of sneaking in a bottle of alcohol.

Kidd didn’t like the aggressive way she was being treated and in his attempt to defend Young, everyone ended up brawling. Young’s legal team says this new video picks up from there.

Young is standing by her original statement that security mistook her for someone else and asked her to leave. Burrell says Nellie’s surveillance video supports their side of the story, but the bar has yet to release the footage.

Nellie’s released the following statement on Instagram 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.”

Nellie’s later updated that statement by saying that they had terminated the security company responsible for the incident, who were contracted to work at the bar. Their updated post read:

“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.”

Despite the public apologies issued by the popular U Street venue, Young said not a single member of Nellie’s team has spoken to her personally since the incident.

theGRIO’s Blue Telusma contributed to this report.

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