• Mecklenburg County NAACP demanding action after patron say they were denied entry to Epicentre club

    By: Brittney Johnson

    Updated:
    Eyewitness News anchor Brittney Johnson is pushing for answers in this story and asking the steps the club is taking since Facebook video went viral. Watch her investigation on Eyewitness News at 5:30pm 

    The head of Mecklenburg County’s NAACP said the organization is planning a press conference Friday to demand that the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina take action after receiving discrimination complaints against an uptown Charlotte nightclub.

    A viral Facebook post criticized the Kandy Bar Dessert and Nightclub for denying entry to a group of patrons.

    Ashley Sisco posted on Facebook that her group was denied based on race. She said the bouncer told her, she and her friends were denied entry to Kandy Bar because they’re not members. But others told her they had been allowed in despite not being members.

    Sisco took a video showing what she believed was another example of someone being turned away based on race, and posted it on Facebook.

    Channel 9’s Brittney Johnson spoke Willie Ratchford, head of Charlotte’s Community Relations Committee, about the video.

    “I was so angry and upset, let me go here and see if I can at least talk to these folks,” Ratchford said.

    Ratchford said for decades he enforced the city’s public accommodation law, which allowed him to investigate complaints from people who felt they had been treated unfairly trying to get into local businesses.

     But in March, House Bill 2 took away that power. All Ratchford can do is direct people to North Carolina’s Human Relations Commission in Raleigh.

    “I’m very disturbed that our city’s hands have been tied,” Ratchford said.

    He also told Channel 9 he’s concerned that people with complaints may not have their grievances addressed and the state’s commission doesn’t have any enforcement power. It means, even if they determine a business is discriminating against customers, there’s no consequence.

    Kandy Bar responded Tuesday to the discrimination claims. It sent Channel 9 video from Saturday night, which the club says proves it does not discriminate against certain customers.

    Kandy Bar officials released the following statement Monday: 

    "Kandy Bar has proudly served the Charlotte community since May 2016 and we take these allegations very seriously. As a member of the Charlotte community, we have zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment. We have a clear dress code policy for patrons that is available here. The individuals who were turned away did not meet the dress code. We are currently investigating the weekend’s occurrences and will take immediate action to reinforce our zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment policies."

    No one has filed a formal complaint with the city of Charlotte.

    The city released this statement on the issue, saying even a complaint was filed, it could do anything:

    “The City of Charlotte’s nondiscrimination in places of public accommodation ordinance, which had prohibited discrimination based on race since 1968, was invalidated by House Bill 2. Therefore, the State’s Human Relations Commission would be responsible for investigating any complaints of alleged discrimination.”

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