A dive bar had no idea it was dealing with two accomplished civil-rights attorneys when it kicked them out for what the women say was racism.
Abre’ Conner claims Fresno, California dive bar, The Brig, booted her and fellow ACLU of Northern California attorney Novella Coleman because they refused tobuy more drinks as they waited to sing karaoke.The Brig’s mandatory drinks rule, they say, seemed to apply only to them: the lone black patrons in the mullet-loadedpool hall.
It demonstrated to us that ... there’s a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to business owners understandingyou can’t kick someone out of a bar just for being black,” Conner told The Daily Beast.“It was very embarrassing to have people yell at us …while all we really wanted to dowas sing our song, ‘Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls,’” said Conner, who in 2013 was named one ofNAACPLegal Defense Fund’s top attorneys under 40.“We’re being yelled at, told we can’t bring up race, told we have to leave unless we purchase more drinks,” added the 28-year-old barrister.
When they didn’t, bartenders called the cops to remove the duo. Conner told The Daily Beast things got so heated that a male bouncer “body bumped” her to force her out.“Another bartender lunged at us within inches of our faces and shouted ‘Buy drinks!’” Conner wrote in her post. “Our group of three had already bought two drinks. But it quickly became clear to us that we were unwelcome in the bar.”
Heidi Wilson, a manager for The Brig, denied the counselors were barred from singing because of racism. She called Conner’s claims “a totally false accusation.”“They were asked to leave because they didn’t purchase anything. They were loitering. They wanted to do karaoke for free,” Wilson told The Daily Beast.“We have a mixed culture here. Everybodyhas a wonderful time. This whole thing is absolutely false,” she added.