NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mother of a man killed following an altercation with security guards in downtown Nashville is fighting for stricter licensing policies.
DJ Barrett was found unresponsive in August at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row after being held down by security staff.
Seven men face charges in the homicide investigation, several of which were unlawfully working as security guards the night of Barrett’s death.
“You know, you feel like these guys are supposed to know what they are doing and I don’t think they did,” DJ’s mother Tammy Barrett told News 2.
Court documents show four of the six security guards facing reckless homicide and aggravated assault charges in the investigation weren’t licensed.
“Infuriating, extremely angry, hurt, you know I just feel betrayed,” Tammy explained.
Whiskey Row was cited for having unlicensed security guards on the night of the incident, along with “failure to maintain adequate security” and fined $9,000. The bar’s security organization registration was also suspended so they have to hire an outside company to provide security.
“As my attorney has said many times, these guys are not hired to monitor a ladies’ tea party. They are there to deal with drunk people so they need to know how to properly do that and obviously that’s not the case because if it were then my son would not be dead right now.”
The grieving mother is now pushing for stricter security licensing policies.
“Tennessee has laws. The biggest problem is to make sure they are being enforced. I would probably dare to say that 75 to 80% of the bars on Lower Broadway have people, employees there who are not licensed. I plan to reach out to lawmakers to maybe get some stricter policing of the situations and to make sure those laws are better enforced,” she said.
As for the two guards that were licensed, there is an upcoming suspension hearing for one. The second guard agreed to suspend his license until the criminal case is complete.
A spokesperson for Whiskey Row sent the below statement to News 2:
The safety and security of our guests and employees is our top priority. Due to privacy issues, we will not address individual personnel matters and we will not comment at this time on ongoing administrative proceedings.