A Michigan court has determined that a Black customer can sue a rural bar after it failed to call the police after an angry, racist white man attacked him.
In 2015, Edward James Tyson, 38, suffered from a traumatic brain injury after being beaten severely by a white bar patron. The incident occurred at the B.S. & Co. Bar in Wolverine, Michigan. Fueled by hate, David Dawkins, 68, brutally attacked Tyson in the middle of the street. To add insult to injury, literally, he used racial slurs and after re-entering the bar, decided to come back to kick Tyson a few more times for good measure, reported The Washington Post.
This week, Dawkins pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. However, when Tyson tried to sue B.S. & Co., his attempt was shot down by a Cheboygan County Circuit Court judge who ruled that since Dawkins assaulted Tyson outside of the bar’s doors, the bar could not be sued.
However, in a demonstration of common sense and justice, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down the previous ruling. It said that a reasonable jury could conclude that because the bar’s “bike night” event habitually involves its patrons congregating outside– counted as part of the establishment’s premises. Therefore, the business could be held responsible for the cavalier nature in which it handled Tyson’s situation.
Court documents indicated Tyson and a friend approached the bar to pick up a pizza they had ordered, and patrons who were outside began to call him the n-word, WaPost reported. He challenged the idiots, and that’s when Dawkins decided to throw gasoline on the sparks by stepping in front of him and repeating the slur.
The victim said he tried to avoid the confrontation. The racist a**hole claimed that Tyson took a fighter’s stance and asked him if he’d called him the epithet. The pale sh*tstarter swung first– striking Tyson so hard that he fell, his hit head on the concrete and was unconscious for about one minute.
An unidentified person entered the bar and told the man that Tyson was looking for him. Dawkins interpreted that as his cue to do even more damage.
At least that’s what Ian Graham, an off-duty bartender testified to in court. He said he knew who the unidentified victim was because they “only have one colored in town,” according to Detroit Free Press.
Wolverine is a little over 250 miles north of Detroit.
The higher court’s ruling also addressed the flippant nature which the bar handled the situation and determined that it had a duty to summon the police.
Jeffrey Gerish, an attorney for the bar owner in Wolverine, told The Detroit News that the bar agrees that “racial violence is abhorrent.”
However, they went on to hire one of the people who began the slurs that night and do not believe they should be held liable for what their customers did to Tyson.
In the case of Black people v. Post-Racial America, this situation is evidence for the plaintiffs.