A person who claims to have been assaulted by a bouncer and another patron at the Horse You Came in On Saloon in Fells Point has filed charges against two people following the incident early Sunday. The two have also filed assault charges against the accuser.
The owner and the bouncer dispute the patron’s accusations and say surveillance video supports a different version of events.
Patron Haylie McGill, who identifies as a non-binary transgender person, says they don’t know what prompted the incident, but did not assume it was based on their gender identity.
Criticism of the bar and discussions of the event have spilled onto Yelp and social media.
McGill was punched by two people before being dragged out of the bar at 1626 Thames St. just before closing time early Sunday, according to a police report.
McGill was dancing with friends at the popular bar before being beaten, choked and dragged out of the establishment by a bouncer and another man, McGill said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun.
McGill, 26, said they were shoved from behind while on the bar’s dance floor. McGill put their hands up and turned around to see a bouncer, who allegedly shoved them again. Another patron then jumped in and hit and choked McGill, McGill said.
McGill remembered being beaten on a hallway floor in the bar before being dragged by the arm out of the bar and onto the Thames Street sidewalk. During the incident, McGill’s shirt was torn, their necklace was ripped off and glasses knocked from their face, McGill said.
Critics on social media have described the incident as a hate crime.
In a statement provided through his attorney, bar owner and manager Eric Mathias said he reviewed the incident and was “much disturbed by the untrue claims making the rounds on social media.” He said it was “not an incident based on gender, sexuality, race or any other personal characteristics.”
Mathias said video evidence from the bar showed a different scene than the one McGill portrayed. In his statement, he said another patron was searching for his umbrella under the bar near McGill and their group. He said an argument broke out between the group and the other patron, and someone in McGill’s group shoved the other patron.
“As an employee neared the group with the intention of [defusing] the situation, he was purposefully shoved and struck by McGill. Based on these actions, the employee then attempted to escort McGill out of the establishment,” Mathias’ statement said. “However, as the employee attempted to do so, he was attacked from behind by at least two of McGill's acquaintances. After more employees stepped in to help, they were finally able to get the group out of the establishment.”
McGill rebutted the bar owner’s statement, and said several of their friends remained in the bar after the incident.
“If my friend did jump in there it was to pull those people off of me,” McGill said. “My friends were never thrown out of the bar. There was no altercation.”
McGill declined medical treatment at the scene, but drove to an urgent care facility later Sunday morning and was referred to an emergency room because of a severe concussion, McGill said. McGill also sustained a neck and back sprain, and bruises on their face, back, neck, stomach and arms, they said.
“I don’t think that has the credibility that he’s saying it does,” McGill’s attorney, Jeremy Eldridge, said of the video footage. “This use of force … does not at all match the description that the owner of the bar has seen on video.”
McGill filed second-degree assault charges against Jaykumar Patel, 37, and Clinton Johnson, 38, both of Baltimore, according to online court records. Both men also filed second-degree assault charges against McGill, online court records show.
Andrew Saller, an attorney who represents Johnson, a bouncer at the Horse You Came In On, said Clinton stepped in when an argument ensued between Patel and McGill’s group.
“The video clearly contradicts Haylie McGill’s version of events,” Saller said. “The video clearly supports my client’s version of events. He was assaulted.”
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