Houston Dynamo players Tyler Deric and Warren Creavalle were arrested after an altercation outside the Roosevelt Bar — a popular Washington Avenue club — late Saturday night. But Deric's attorney tells CultureMap that there's much more to the case than it might first appear, with racist comments that followed Roosevelt refusing to let several of Deric's African-American teammates into the club precipitating the incident.
"Things were said . . . in fact, a lot of things said," attorney Allan Tanner says, adding that the players were reacting to comments of a racist nature. "Tyler was very defensive of his friends."
Tanner says that his client Deric and a small group of fellow soccer players were trying to get into the bar when several of his African-American teammates were denied entry.
Arguments ensued between the Dynamo group, the club's management, a bouncer and an off-duty police officer. In the end, Deric was subdued by Taser and arrested for assaulting an officer while Creavalle was charged with interfering with a public servant.
"They shouldn't have charged Tyler at all," Deric 's attorney Allan Tanner says. "They also shouldn't have Tased him or hit him with a baton."
Victor Senties, a spokesperson with the Houston Police Department, reports a different version of events. Senties says that Roosevelt denied access to several members of Deric's party with regard to dress code.
Upset, the group left the scene only to return moments later with an additional five or six people.
They were asked to leave by club management, but refused and began to yell obscenities at the doorman and at Houston police officer Ramon Perez, who was working security at the bar in uniform on an approved extra duty, according to Senties.
"The important thing to remember about this is that they were given several opportunities to leave the property," Senties tells CultureMap, "but they still tried to get into the club and continued to be combative."
"They shouldn't have charged Tyler at all," Tanner said. "They also shouldn't have Tased him or hit him with a baton. He's trying to practice with the team now, but he's not really OK.
"There are six dart marks on his side from the Taser and one of his hands is swollen."
Deric and Creavalle were released on bail Sunday. The case is currently pending.
Only hours before the Dynamo incident, the Roosevelt Bar also denied entry to local white hip-hop group Drank and a group of their African-American friends.
"They were given several opportunities to leave the property," Senties says, "but they still tried to get into the club and continued to be combative."
"They wouldn't let our group in, quote, because the doorman said we had too many Black people,” rapper Mozart told Fox 26. “I looked around and saw my friends’ reaction, and I knew it was real."
Yelp! reviews also detail alleged incidents of people being denied entry based on race at Roosevelt.
A longtime party host in Houston, Ray Odom has witnessed plenty of racial problems within the club industry through the years, culminating in 2010 when owners of Rice Village's Hudson Lounge abruptly ended his own holiday event for young black professionals.
Interestingly, the Roosevelt owner's other club, the 5th Amendment, has hosted a number of Odom's parties without incident since the Hudson Lounge debacle. Odom feels the recent Roosevelt scenarios could be somewhat overblown.
"I know that certain parties have quotas for certain types of people," he said. "Bouncers can put people in a box a lot of the time and that's where they get in trouble.
"No doubt, there're race issues on Washington Avenue, but the owner of Roosevelt might be falling on the sword for other racial problems in the area."
No one at Roosevelt returned CultureMap's calls for comment.