A black man was punched and kicked unconscious early Friday by white patrons of a Maplewood bar in a bloody fight that was allegedly motivated by race, according to assault charges.
A verbal altercation began inside McCarron’s Pub and Grill, 1986 Rice St., and turned into a fight about 12:20 a.m. The incident involved two groups: two black women and a black man, and a white man, a white woman and another woman whose race was not specifically mentioned in court documents.
Gregory M. Votel Jr., 30, of Roseville, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with third-degree assault, violating a no-contact order and two counts of fifth-degree assault.
“The bartender … said that that night, a white female bar patron had made racial comments toward a group of black patrons,” the charges said. “…the white female punched one of the black patrons. He said that the white female knocked a black man to the ground, and a white male kicked him in the head.”
The charges against Votel note that his 24-year-old girlfriend, whom he is prohibited to associate with due to a domestic abuse no-contact order, and a 28-year-old woman were also allegedly involved in the incident.
Ramsey County attorney spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein said that no other cases had been presented to the office for charging consideration.
According to the charges against Votel: A 39-year-old black woman told police that she went to the bar that night with a female friend, 42, and a male friend, 42. All are black.
“She said that shortly after the group arrived, several other patrons made racial slurs, including that people had to leave because blacks had come into the bar,” the charges said. “[She] said that she was hit in the face, knocked down, and kicked by a white male.”
The 42-year-old female friend told police that a white woman had “gone after” the 39-year-old woman, and then a white male punched her in the face and kicked her. The friend identified Votel and his girlfriend as the alleged assailants.
Police arriving on the scene saw the 42-year-old black male in the parking lot holding his head. He had a large gash on his head and scrapes on his forearm, and was eventually taken to a hospital for treatment. Blood covered his head, shirt and arms.
“He spoke slowly and seemed confused,” the complaint said.
The man told police that he was attacked by a man and woman.
The 39-year-old woman suffered a cut above her lip and abrasions on her chest.
Three bystanders and the bartender told police that the 42-year-old man was punched to the ground, and that a man kicked him three times, including in the head and face. The assailant’s shoe flew across the parking lot during the attack, the charges said.
One of the bystanders said Votel’s group made racial comments, sparking the altercation. The 42-year-old man walked outside, and Votel followed, the bystander told police. She said it was Votel who punched the male victim, knocking him unconscious.
“She said that the defendant and the group got into the black SUV, but the defendant got back out and kicked [the male victim] in the head as he lay unconscious,” the charges said.
One bystander also captured part of the incident on cellphone video, showing the male victim fall backwards and Votel running toward him as two women fought.
Votel, who had blood on his forearm when police found him, declined to speak with investigators. Votel’s mother told police Votel and his girlfriend were defending themselves.
A different woman identified at the scene as one of the aggressors told police that the 39-year-old female victim started the fight.