A third-degree murder charge has been approved against a bouncer who allegedly punched a man outside a bar in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” earlier this month, and LBGTQ activists are demanding “justice for our brother,” who died a week later.
What are the details?
Investigators told WTXF-TV they’re looking for 24-year-old Kenneth Frye, who was allegedly caught on surveillance video punching 41-year-old Eric Pope outside Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar in the 200 block of South 12th Street in Center City.
Police told the station that video shows Pope being escorted from the bar around 1 a.m. April 16 for being overly intoxicated. The clip also shows Pope apparently dancing just off the sidewalk. Police said Frye punched Pope, knocking him to the street unconscious, WTXF reported, adding that bouncers soon moved him to the sidewalk as a crowd gathered around Pope, who was still lying on the ground.
Pope died at a hospital Sunday,
Tabu’s owner told WTXF the bouncer in question is not a bar employee, and the incident didn’t occur on Tabu property. The bar also called 911 and is cooperating with authorities, WTXF said in a separate story.
Sources added to WTXF that Frye was employed by Main Line Private Security — and that police have received at least five complaints about the security outfit’s employees in the past month.
‘Justice for our brother Pope’
LGBTQ activists and allies spoke Tuesday outside Tabu and called for justice and accountability, adding that there have been problems with the third-party security company in the Gayborhood, WTXF said.
“The owner cannot throw rocks and hide his hands; he has a responsibility and has to own up to his part,” Asa Khalif noted to the station. “What took place, we want the bouncer arrested immediately we want justice for our brother Pope.”
Pope’s family told WTXF he was from Washington, D.C., and was visiting friends in Philadelphia when the incident outside the bar took place.
LGBTQ activists and allies also expressed concerns about security related to the city’s Black Pride events that start Thursday, WTXF said.
“This is a safety issue now, and it’s a major safety issue because this area is about to be influxed with our family members,” Sappho Fulton added to the station.
A few years back, 11 Gayborhood bars were ordered to undergo bias training — and Tabu was one of them.
The city’s Commission on Human Relations released a report at the time saying there was racial tension and discrimination in the Gayborhood — and that most of its businesses were owned by cis-gender white males who favor white male customers, Philly.com said.
“Racism in the LGBTQ community is a real issue. It’s a real issue in our entire society, not only just in the LGBTQ area or in the Gayborhood,” Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said, Philly.com reported. “We need to do more to address it here in Philadelphia. We will do whatever else we need to do to see that the recommendations are adopted. And that possibly could include eliminating organizations who won’t change their ways by limiting our participation in their work financially.”