A Navy veteran from Plano, Texas, is accusing security guards at a Dallas strip club of beating him and his friend and calling him a racial slur following a late-night confrontation with another of the club's patrons.
Jalen Bell wrote in a Facebook post that he went to XTC Cabaret in Dallas' Stemmons Corridor Saturday night to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a friend.
He left the club at about 4 a.m. Sunday with broken ribs and severe facial injuries, according to Dallas police.
Toward the end of the night, Bell says he "exchanged words" with a man who put his cigarette out in Bell's drink, after Bell says he accidentally placed it in an area reserved for that man and several others.
"My friend and I decided to leave after the confrontation and this group of security guards was waiting for us at the exit," Bell wrote on Facebook. "Without any provocation at all they beat us both like animals. After they were done they just kicked us out and went on with business as usual."
According to a police report, Bell told officers about the incident on May 7 at about 4 p.m., after his hospital visit. One suspect put Bell in a chokehold, and when Bell got out of the hold, several others assaulted him.
"They called me (the N-word) as they punched, kicked, stomped and grabbed my throat with such force I felt my trachea beginning to snap. They cracked my ribs and injured my eyes, jaw and back."
XTC Cabaret could not be reached for comment, but its parent company released a statement saying its initial understanding of the incident was that "an unruly customer" was at the center of Sunday morning's altercation.
"XTC Cabaret Dallas has a zero tolerance policy for any kind of discrimination," spokesman Gary Fishman wrote in a statement on behalf of the company. "Our club has a very diverse clientele, equally diverse management and staff and has been in business a long time. We are continuing to investigate the incident internally and ask the community to be patient until that is concluded."
Users had written numerous reviews on the club's Yelp page after the incident, taking Bell's side.
Bell held a news conference from XTC Cabaret on Wednesday with his lawyer, Lee Merritt. Merritt practices law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas, but only represents Texas clients who bring federal civil-rights cases.
"We will be filing a lawsuit against XTC night club and personally against each of the security officers involved," Merritt said during that news conference.
Since the guards have not yet been identified by police, Merritt also called for XTC to identify them publicly, terminate their employment and impel them to cooperate with the police investigation.
"It's not just about me. This is happening all across the country," Bell said. I haven't been desensitized to it. When it happens to someone who looks like me, it hurts every time. People think it can't happen to them, but it can."
XTC Cabaret has garnered some negative attention in the past. According to the Dallas Morning News, one man shot and killed another man and wounded a woman in the club's parking lot in October. In 2016, a man was shot there after two people tried to rob him and two others as they left the club.