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Silver Dollar owner: Group harassed bar patrons, members of Louisville socialist organization

An LMPD officer questions an employee of The Silver Dollar following Thursday night’s alleged attack. | Courtesy of Louisville Metro Police Department

The Louisville Metro Police Department released its report and a bodycam video following an incident at The Silver Dollar, in which the restaurant owner said a group verbally harassed and pepper sprayed members of the Louisville chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and other bar patrons.

The Silver Dollar co-owner Vanessa Cantley stated in a Facebook post late Thursday that a group of men, who she claimed were “white nationalists,” attacked Louisville DSA members, as well as unaffiliated customers.

“The harassers were asked to leave but, before they did, they pepper-sprayed the guests who were meeting, along with our general manager,” Cantley wrote. “The LMPD officers who arrived asked the perpetrators who were left to leave but told our manager they did not have probable cause to search the perpetrators — despite a whole group having been pepper sprayed.”

Cantley, an attorney, called the police response “unacceptable.”

Footage of the incident published to social media depicts a handful of white males yelling profanity at the DSA members, calling them “commies” and demanding that they “get the f— out of here.”

The Courier Journal quoted an individual named Shannon Ashby, saying that he was with a group, most of whom are members of American Action Force Three Percent, at The Silver Dollar simply to have a beer. Shouting begun, Ashby told the CJ, after a member of his party associated with the hate group Proud Boys recognized a member of DSA that he’d fought with previously.

The mayor’s office declined to comment, calling the incident “a police matter” and referred all questions to LMPD.

LMPD released a statement Friday afternoon describing its account of the incident.

“Our officers were dispatched to the restaurant on Frankfort Avenue at 8:00 p.m.,” according to the statement. “When they arrived, they separated the parties having the reported conflict. Officers spoke with those present to try to figure out what occurred. Given the conflicting stories received by officers and the officers not witnessing the incident, a report was taken and no arrests were made.”

The LMPD also released a copy of the report, prepared by responding officer Steven Stacy, whose summary reads in full:

Officers responded to a call of a general trouble at the Silver Dollar, where the complainant stated they were being harassed. Upon arrival, this Officer observed two groups arguing, one group on the sidewalk and the other on the business property. After seperating [sic] the groups, this Officer spoke with complainants on the business property. This Officer was advised the complainants had been sprayed with some type of “pepper spray”. Complainants advised the group on the sidewalk was fifteen to twenty people prior to our arrival, and that they could not advise which individual in the group sprayed the irritant.

The report lists a charge of fourth-degree assault and three victims, whose names were redacted.

Body camera footage released by the LMPD contained more than 16 minutes of footage and details the officers’ interviews with the alleged white nationalists, many of whom claimed that a bar patron threatened to hit one of their group with a glass. Near the end of the video, the responding officers reach a consensus that both groups’ stories weren’t accurate to what may have happened.

Here’s the body cam footage:

The LMPD did not respond to a query from Insider regarding Cantley’s claim that “at least one officer was seen laughing and joking around” with the group she said assaulted customers.

Following the incident, Louisville DSA co-chair Nick Condon released a statement.

“The far-right group verbally harassed our members and then attacked them with a substance we believe to be pepper spray. Nobody was seriously harmed, but it is clear that the far-right will become violent towards working people who resist their agenda,” Louisville DSA said in the statement.

Louisville DSA said that many of the men who harassed the group were wearing insignia on their clothing associated with the Three Percenter movement, an anti-government militia, which protested the Occupy ICE encampment in Louisville this summer.

An administrator for the Facebook group Three Percenters of Kentucky said that the organization denounced such actions and that none of its members subscribe to white nationalist ideology. However, the administrator also said that there are nine other Three Percenters groups in Kentucky and that they could not speak for them.

This story may be updated.

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