NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A grieving mother is hopeful that a new law going into effect next year will keep others from going through the same heartache as her family after her son was killed on a bar rooftop in downtown Nashville last year.
“Dallas’s Law” was named for Dallas “DJ” Barrett, who died after a fight with security guards at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row on Aug. 16, 2021.
The tragedy cast a spotlight on the lack of training for security guards in Music City.
“I was appalled, honestly, to find out the lack of requirements for training and just not having to be CPR trained, not having to know de-escalation techniques,” Tammy explained. “I never would have dreamed that that was the situation considering what those employees have to go through on a nightly basis.”
Video surveillance showed the turn of events that ended with Tammy’s 22-year-old son being held down by a number of security guards at the popular rooftop bar. Witnesses also said DJ called out, “I can’t breathe,” before he died.
An autopsy said DJ died of asphyxiation, deeming the manner of death as homicide.
Seven people, including six Whiskey Row security guards, were indicted in December 2021 on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated assault in connection with DJ’s death. In addition, four of the guards were not properly licensed at the time of the incident, according to court documents.
In Tennessee, some unarmed security guards aren’t required to undergo any training to get licensed. However, lawmakers quickly jumped to change that following DJ’s death.
As part of Dallas’s Law, all security guards working in establishments that serve alcohol in Tennessee must complete training in de-escalation, safe restraint, first aid, and CPR.
“Definitely thankful, beyond thankful that Rep. Beck got together to get this started and got the ball rolling for us pretty quickly,” said Tammy.
Although the law was created out of a tragedy, the mother is hopeful it will prevent similar situations from occurring in the future, making downtown Nashville a safer spot for everyone who visits.
“Definitely a way for people to remember him. I hate that my child had to die for that, but if we can keep someone else safe, then I’m thankful we can hopefully do that. I would hope and pray that when this law does go into effect that it will help make it safer for everyone to be able to go down there and enjoy it,” Tammy said of downtown Nashville.
Also under Dallas’s Law, all security guards working in establishments that serve alcohol in Tennessee must complete refresher training on requirements every two years, in addition to renewing their registration cards. The law also stiffens the punishment for establishments that employ security guards without a valid or appropriate registration card.
To learn more about Dallas’s Law — which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, click here.
Meanwhile, a court date for DJ’s homicide case is set for late February 2023.