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Attorney responds to concerns that Fan bar is causing violence: ‘You can’t just make allegations’

Posted at 11:57 PM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-05 23:57:20-05

RICHMOND, Va., -- The lawyer for the owner of a Richmond bar accused of bringing the suspects of a violent attack to the neighborhood responded to the accusations.

On October 28, Uber driver Bradley Johnson was attempting to drive down the 2000 block of West Grace Street at about 2:17 a.m. when he encountered a group of people playing loud music, dancing and blocking the street.

“[Johnson] was attempting to drive through an intersection when he was robbed and assaulted,” a Richmond Police spokesperson said. “[He] was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

Ronald S. Young, 26, of Ridgecliff Road, was charged with robbery in connection to the attack that left a father on disability with even more injuries, police announced on Friday.

Neighbors on West Grace Street alleged unruly and disrespectful crowds only increased when the Cornerstone Cigar Bar opened on West Broad Street earlier this year.

"People rowdy in the street and fights breaking out. I've caught several people in my backyard going through things the same time as Cornerstone opened up," Xantea Bowe, a mother who lives on West Grace claimed.

Councilwoman Kim Gray also blamed the establishment for the increase of complaints.

"If you’re going to create a nuisance in the community I'm coming for you," Gray warned.

As a result of the complaints, Virginia ABC special agents opened an investigation into Cornerstone and other restaurants in the area.

Brent Jackson, the lawyer representing the owner of Cornerstone Cigar Bar, said there's no evidence that the suspects were their customers prior to the attack.

"You can’t just make allegations. That’s what’s happening here, you’re presuming without facts and as result you’re creating a situation where you’re tarnishing someone’s reputation based on innuendo or speculation," Jackson explained.

He described Cornerstone as a family restaurant that the owner opened in the Fan District because she was attracted to the community.

"When she heard about [the allegations] she was crying, she’s very upset about this," Jackson stated. "This is something she’s spent her life savings on and she’s never imagined that someone would accuse her of being a public nuisance."

Jackson said Cornerstone is his client's first and only restaurant that's she's now fighting to save. He stated she's lost business as a result of the accusations.

"A lot of people have been pointing here at Cornerstone saying that this is the place where all the problems originated," the lawyer said. "This is not something that we condone, in fact, we want anybody who commits a criminal offense in this neighborhood to be arrested."

Jackson pointed to other nearby late night restaurants that could attribute to an uptick in rowdy behavior.

Johnson said detectives are searching for several other individuals believed to be involved in his attack.

Detectives asked anyone with any information about this incident to call Third Precinct Detective A. Davila at (804) 646-1069 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.