A Minnesota man says a club bouncer beat him up for being gay.
According to ABC’s local EYEWITNESS NEWS source KSTP, a man in St. Paul, Minnesota by the name of Ben Sanson-Ngiratregd was at a bar inside a restaurant called Barrio to order drinks when he kissed his boyfriend. According to Sanson-Ngiratregd, that action didn’t go over well with someone inside.
“A guy came behind me and grabbed my shirt,” Sanson-Ngiratregd said. “He’s like ‘You can’t do that in here.'”
Sanson-Ngiratregd believes that man was the bouncer, and says the man used anti-gay slurs towards him. Then, the man became physical.
“I told him to get his hands off of me and then he just started punching me in my face,” Sanson-Ngiratregd said. “I have bumps and bruises all over my body, I was thrown down cement stairs, dragged across the floor.”
He then adds, “The whole time it was happening I really thought I could die. A guy came behind me and grabbed my shirt. He’s like ‘You can’t do that in here.’ He was calling me a very derogatory name for me being gay. I told him to get his hands off of me and then he just started punching me in my face. I have bumps and bruises all over my body, I was thrown down cement stairs, dragged across the floor.”
St. Paul police say they are investigating the situation as an assault. But the restaurant’s owners and management say that Sanson-Ngiratregd is lying. They then released the following statement this past Monday:
“We take any allegation that one of our guests was mistreated very seriously. We don’t tolerate any form of discrimination or inappropriate conduct by anyone associated with our company.
“We are continuing to investigate the incident that took place early Sunday morning at Barrio Lowertown, but based on what we know so far – the account of our security guard as well as those of a number of witnesses and our review of our security footage – we believe our colleague acted only to defend himself and to ensure the safety of our other guests when physically attacked. At no time did any Barrio employee or anyone else associated with our restaurant punch a guest during this incident. Reports that two employees were involved in this altercation are incorrect.
“We provided those accounts to the police and are ready to help them further should they have any additional questions or need further information.
“Again, we want to be 100 percent clear that we welcome everyone to our restaurants. Our teams – including our security and safety personnel – are there to make sure that every patron can enjoy great food and drink in a fun and welcoming environment. Since we opened our first restaurant in 2008 we’ve been committed to that idea and are grateful to the hundreds of thousands of customers who’ve shared a meal, a celebration or a special occasion with us.”