Protest outside Whiskey Row highlights rooftop bar homicide 3-months after 22-year-old’s death

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly three months after a man lost his life after being held down by security guards at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, his loved ones held a protest outside the bar to keep his story alive. 

On Saturday, a group gathered just a few stories below the rooftop where security held down 22-year-old Dallas “DJ” Barrett.  

Tony Barrett said even though he and his brother were six years apart, everyone thought they were twins. His brother reminisced about Barrett being the best man in his wedding the month before he died.  

“He was a genuine soul, a pure soul, giving person. He was everything,” Tony Barrett said.  

His mom said she feels like she will never have justice, but wants to do what she can to keep his memory alive. She said that’s what made Saturday’s protest so important as the three-month mark approaches.  

“We’re wanting to continue to bring awareness. If people don’t go in, that’s on them. We don’t try to say ‘don’t go in there, don’t go in there.’ But we want to merely have them know what happened and to be aware of it,” Tammy Barrett said.  

Autopsy results ruled DJ Barrett’s cause of death was asphyxiation and the manner of death was a homicide. 

“Everyone just know and understand what’s going on when you come down here. You come for a good time, but you never know what’s going to happen. The greatest and the worst things in life all come unexpected. And my family and I are just devastated,” Tony Barrett said.   

In a statement, Whiskey Row said security was trying to escort Barrett and a friend out of the bar, but Barrett lunged at a security guard. They say due to his size, several guards restrained him and one had to get medical treatment for a laceration above the eye.  

Whiskey Row added that an employee tried to approach officers outside to get help, but instead had to wait on other officers to respond. Metro police said the employee approached one officer who could not leave his traffic duty but radioed for help. In response, the bar stood by their statement that the employee approached two officers.

Barrett’s family is calling for formal charges to be brought against the security guards who held him down. 

“I hope you never have to feel the despair, the feeling of being scared, anger, all of that that my son felt that night. And the pain that I go through every day,” Tammy Barrett said.  

Metro police told News 2 in a statement that the investigation was ongoing and “the file in its totality is to be staffed with the District Attorney’s Office in the near future.”  

Tammy Barrett told News 2 she was told the case could be headed to the DA’s office as soon as next week. 

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