An evening out in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood took a deadly turn for a young man from the Washington D.C. area. On April 16th, Eric Pope, 41 was at Tabu, one of Philadelphia’s most-frequented nightlife spaces in the area that is commonly known as The Gayborhood. While it remains unclear as to what went on inside the venue to provoke this attack, video clearly shows Pope (who was visiting Philadelphia) escorted outside the venue, & a bouncer clearly punching Pope directly in the head. Pope (who looked to be posing no immediate threat to anyone at all at the time) lay ominously still in the street before two bouncers moved him to the sidewalk, where he remained for several minutes as a crowd began to gather around him. Taken to Jefferson University Hospital, Pope was put on life support where he remained, before dying on April 23rd.
Immediately, emotional social media tributes and warm and loving comments on Pope poured in, with people on Facebook recalling Pope’s sense of humor and affinity for the Sinatra classic “My Way” As for Tabu, they have been quick to distance themselves from the bouncer entirely, with the owner of Tabu responded to a report in The Advocate saying “The bouncer involved was not an employee of Tabu and the incident in question did not occur on our property,” according to CBS affiliate KYW. The owner added that management called 911 as soon as they learned about what happened. Subsequently, multiple sources confirmed to EPGN that an outside company was providing security services for Tabu at the time. Thus, the bouncer at issue wasn’t directly employed by Tabu at the time of the incident.
⚠️WARNING disturbing video⚠️ @PhillyPolice say 41YO Eric Pope was punched by a bouncer outside Tabu Lounge & Sports bar just before 1 AM on 4/16. This is surveillance video from that timeframe. Police say Pope died yesterday from his injuries—homicide investigating @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/AaqsFhfwKZ
— Kelly Rule (@KellyRuleTV) April 25, 2022
On April 27th, CBS Philly reported that third degree murder charges have been approved against the bouncer in question (identified as Kenneth Frye) who currently has an active warrant out for his arrest. Frye was an employee of Mainline Security which, upon further investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer, has had a checkered history in The Gayborhood in the past.
Per court filings, Mainline has been sued twelve times since 2020, many times their bouncers alleged use of force or a failure too summon medics after injuries were sustained being the focus of the allegations. Ironically, another Center City bar. Tavern on Carmac (owned by Tabu partner, Stephen P. Carlino, who is a partner listed on the liquor license) had a patron suffer a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) that left him permanently disabled in 2019. The suit specifically called out Mainline, who even though they were contacted for security, the bouncers committed a “failure to call for emergency medical response” for said injuries. (The attorney for Mainline told The Inquirer that the claims that bouncers did not call for medical help were “false” and that the suit had been “settled during the pandemic”). Another incident at late night LGBTQ nightclub Voyeur involved a man being sucker punched and ended up being hospitalized. The suit alleged that neither he nor another Mainline employee attempted to help the injured man, who was later hospitalized. In 2020, that bouncer, (who had already served jail time for carrying an unlicensed firearm, was found guilty in criminal court over the assault at Voyuer and received eight months’ probation credit