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Area Gay Bar On Defense After Brawl Leads To Discrimination Allegations

Cell Phone Footage of Incident

Jackhammer, a gay bar at 6406 N. Clark, is defending itself against allegations of improper treatment to trans individuals and people of color in the bar after an early morning bar fight close to closing time.

Police responded to a call about people fighting in front of the bar around 4:24 a.m. Sunday morning. According to authorities, a 50-year-old customer at the establishment signed a complaint alleging that 22-year-old Itsi Mayra Tovar, who is transgender, struck him on top of the head with a closed fist.

Tovar was taken into custody by police. It was then that another transgender woman, 21-year-old Shelby Lynn Morris, intervened in the arrest by grabbing one of the officer’s arms. Morris was then also arrested with charges of battery and resisting or obstructing police.

However, within hours of the incident allegations surfaced on social media accusing Jackhammer’s staff of transphobic and racist behavior. One of those posts was by a DJ Ariel Zetina who was working at the club that night and was allegedly forced to stop her set. She claimed the incident was “purely racist and transphobic” and quickly started a donation page for her “two friends that were arrested.”

CWBChicago.com, who broke the story, reached out to Zetina and several other people who made posts about alleged discriminitory behavior against the bar. None of them responded to the crime blog and Zetina blocked them from her page.

Teri Yaki, a drag performer who saw the whole incident that evening had a very different reaction to the incident. She said she was punched in the head when she helped try to break up the fight and her partner’s thumb was broken.

Teri Yaki posted a video (see below) of the incident and wrote, “Those people who are screaming “racist” were hitting the staff and threatening customers screaming and causing [an] all out melee. The staff at Jackhammer handled the situation with as much professionalism as they could considering the violence being directed at them.”

The incident also caused the owners of Jackhammer to put out a statement.

“We are committed to doing what needs to be done so that incidents like last night do not happen, and when issues arise within the bar they are de-escalated as rapidly and respectfully as possible,” Jackhammer said in a Facebook post released on Sunday. “We are still gathering information about all that happened last night. We do want to make clear that at no point did Jackhammer ask the police to press charges against anyone, nor did we ever consider that.”

Jackhammer added that they are reviewing programming, events and customer support to improve their inclusiveness and responsiveness to situations and have reached out to several people in the community to work with them through the process.

 

Regarding the events at Jackhammer last night.Were any of you there last night? Because I was. Those people who are screaming "racist" were hitting the staff and threatening customers screaming and causing all out melee. The staff at Jackhammer handled the situation with as much professionalisim as they could considering the violence being directed at them. None of them disrespected any of the members of that group. They were simply looking out for the safety of the rest of the patrons once fighting broke out. The group was asked to leave and when they didnt more violence began….and not from the staff. The fact that they were removed had absolutely nothing to do with what gender they identified with or the color of their skin. My partners thumb is broken from being thrown to the floor and as I was trying to break up a fight was punched in the head. Its easy to jump on some bandwagon of "justice" when you dont know the facts. Beware of individuals who trigger you with words like "racist or transphobic" in order to excuse their horrible behavior. This jumping to conclusions and social media mob like behavior is tearing our community apart. People need to accept responsibility for their actions regardless of gender or race. Bad behavior is bad behavior. Place the blame where it belongs. And before you blindly believe individuals who thrive on this type of drama and spread untruths on social media to draw attention to themselves, make sure you get the whole story. Those types of people are not to be trusted.

Posted by Teri Yaki on Sunday, March 3, 2019

 


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