Monday, February 28, 2011

Boston club apologizes and fined for incident

In November I posted about an incident about a club in Boston, Cure Lounge, was hosting a party for Harvard and Yale alums but they closed the club because there was a line of African Americans waiting to get in and someone from the club's management said to have seen "local gang bangers" outside.

On Friday, Cure Lounge "issued a public apology and agreed to pay a $30,000 fine."

The club will also have its employees undergo annual anti-discrimination training as part of a judgment by the Massachusetts Attorney General's office and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Friday. The consent judgment ends lawsuits against the club's owner, Paige Hospitality Inc., alleging the club's actions violated public accommodations and consumer protection laws. Those lawsuits followed claims by the event's organizers, three Harvard graduate students, that the club's management cited concerns about "local gangbangers" and the "wrong crowd" in closing the party.

"Massachusetts businesses cannot refuse to host events because of racial reasons," Coakley said. "In this case, club staff made harmful and ill-conceived conclusions based on the simple fact that most of the guests were black."

The alleged behavior of Cure Lounge staff, Coakley said, is the "essence of racial stereotyping" and a reminder that there is still progress to be made in tackling this issue.

ESPN writer Howard Bryant arrested for assault

On Saturday, well known ESPN writer Howard Bryant arrested on charges of assaulting his wife and was later released. I quoted some parts from an article (source linked to below), make sure to read and check out the article. I guess we don't really know if this is really a husband assaulting his wife or just a couple have an argument that someone called the police about and the police overreact.

"This case is about the fact that racism still exists in America, and Howard Bryant is a victim of it," said attorney Buz Eisenberg.

Bryant, 42, a senior writer for ESPN, pleaded innocent Monday in Greenfield District Court to charges of domestic assault and battery, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

In an interview with The Republican, Bryant, who is black, and his wife Veronique Bryant, who is white, both insisted that police used unnecessary force while arresting Bryant after what they described as a verbal argument in front of Buckland Pizza in Shelburne Falls. The couple, who live in Ashfield, said some customers in the pizza parlor saw the argument and called police.

"It wasn't an assault or a battery," said Veronique Bryant. "I was not scared. He was not touching me. We had a discussion. The police reacted in a totally inappropriate way."

Veronique Bryant added that she did not press charges against her husband.


According to Bryant, he and his wife were in their car with their six-year-old son when state and local police arrived. The told him to get out of the car and ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets, even though they were not in his pockets, he said.

"I raised my hands over my head so they wouldn’t shoot me," Bryant said. “They smashed my head on the car and pulled my sweatshirt hood up over my head."

When Bryant insisted that he was not resisting arrest, an officer asked him if he wanted to be "Tasered," he said. The couple said they were especially distraught because the incident took place in front of their son.

"One conversation would have stopped it all," Bryant said.


According to police, witnesses reported that Bryant choked his wife and pushed her into a car. They said Bryant struck a trooper in the chest with his elbow during the three minutes it took to subdue him.

Judge Maureen Walsh released Bryant on his own recognizance on the condition that he not abuse his wife, who was with him in court. She scheduled a pretrial conference for April 21.

Racism and prejudice in Minneapolis

I thought this was interesting to share. I only quoted a few below, check the source for the full article.

A group of writers from Ebenezer Park Apartments in Minneapolis have been putting together thoughts about their experiences with racism and prejudice since November. They revealed their letters fellow apartment dwellers and the community.

"You don't want to play with them, their color might rub off on you...."

"You have no business on this bus..."