Midtown Houston bar staff accused of racial discrimination

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Three African American men have accused The Gaslamp, a nightclub in Midtown Houston, of racially profiling them after they were charged a twenty-dollar cover to get in. They said they saw multiple people of color charged a cover that night while other groups of Caucasians were let in free. 

“We get educated, we start careers, we do everything right, and we still have to go through this,” said Dan Scarborough, an African-American attorney at law in the Houston area.

On September 11, Brandon Ball and his two friends, all attorneys, were asked to pay a twenty-dollar cover charge to get into the Gaslamp located at 2400 Brazos. They decided to go to a different bar instead, but wanted to revisit the issue later in the night,

“We sat across the street from the gas lamp and we just watched for about twenty, twenty-five, to thirty minutes,” said Ball. “We saw all types of minorities get turned down, not just black people: Asians, Hispanics.

“I actually went up and talked to various people who had tried to go in,” said Ken Piggee, another attorney at law who was with Ball and Scarborough that night. “I talked to a couple of Hispanic gentleman and they had been told that it's a twenty-dollar cover and the same thing with people of other ethnicities.”

This past weekend was not the only case race has been an issue with Gaslamp. We found multiple reviews dating back to 2013 where various ethnic groups had complained about what they claimed are Gaslamp’s “racist tendencies”.

“Other people shouldn’t be treated like that,” said Piggie. “I don’t care about me. As I said, I don’t go to these places but other people got treated very shabbily and I think that’s a shame.”

The attorney of the Gaslamp, Tim Sutherland, told us this past weeks situation was not about racial profiling. He claimed it was because the club was trying to keep an even ratio of guys to girls.

“We didn’t deny them entry,” said Sutherland.  “We requested a cover charge from them on the basis of them being three guys with no females.  If you show up and you are a group of males without any females you’re typically asked to pay a cover charge and that applies regardless of race.”

According to deputy Thomas Gilliland there is now a pending investigation on the deputies tied to Gaslamp. A spokesperson told us they are reviewing whether or not they are going to allow their deputies to work outside that bar since it has been accused of racial discrimination.