The mother of a Des Moines man who died in a scuffle with bar bouncers watched the Iowa Senate approve a bill that’d start a program to train bouncers.
Back in 2000, the coroner ruled Charles Lovelady died of suffocation after two bar bouncers put him in a choke-hold. For the past seven years Lovelady’s mother, Joann Hughes, has been asking legislators to require mandatory training for bar bouncers. "It’s worth the fight because I want our kids to be safe," she says. "I want their patrons to be safe."
The legislature has voted to set aside $15,000 to develop a bar bouncer training program in Polk County. Hughes says it doesn’t seem to her that Des Moines-area bars learned from her son’s death. "I have a lot of frustration because our children are still being violated — their rights — every weekend, every time that they are in some establishments in Des Moines, they are being violated still," she says.
Twenty-six-year-old Charles Lovelady was denied entry at a Des Moines nightclub back in February of 2000 because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the bouncers told him it violated the club’s dress code. Hughes says too many bars in Des Moines treat black patrons as "thugs."
"They think they are all and they’re not. They’re respectable citizens that can go anywhere they choose and they should not be taken out or put out or killed because they’re there," she says.
The course for bouncers will cover issues like anger management and how to spot a fake I.D. If the House approves the bill, too, Des Moines-area bars that charge a "cover" and can accommodate more than 200 patrons will be required to have at least one trained security guard on duty.
Eight months after Lovelady’s death, the two bouncers involved in his death were put on trial and O.J. Simpson’s famous attorney — Johnie Cochran — urged the jury to convict them of involuntary manslaughter. The jury found the bouncers not guilty.