Local News
11:38 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Jason Osborne's Arrest at Fourth Street Live Sparks Black Leaders' Concerns About Discrimination

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Several African-American lawmakers are concerned about a potential "pattern of discrimination" at Fourth Street Live after a former Louisville Cardinals basketball star was arrested at the entertainment district.

Jason Osborne, 38, was arrested Sunday night on Muhammad Ali Boulevard at Fourth Street Live after an altercation at Sully's with security, an arrest report says. Another person, Jacquelynn N. Russell, 32, arrested at the entertainment district. Charges for both include  criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

Osborne was arraigned Wednesday, and several African-American lawmakers were present, including Metro Council members David Tandy, Barbara Shanklin, Cheri Bryant Hamilton and David James, plus state Reps. Darryl Owens and Reginald Meeks.

James, chairman of the Democratic majority caucus, says black lawmakers aren't passing judgment in the case, but are taking interest in the case because of concerns about continued discrimination at Fourth Street Live.

"We're not sure, but it seems to fit a perceived pattern of activity as it relates to the Cordish Co. on Fourth Street Live," James says. "And so what we're going to have to do is watch the process go through the courts system and see what facts emerge to see exactly what did happen."

James says lawmakers plan to have continued conversations with Cordish representatives about the treatment of minorities inside the entertainment district, which could include testifying before Metro Council.

In a statement, Fourth Street Live general manager Jim Layson said: “The incident occurred outside of Fourth Street Live! and was between an individual and members of the police. No Fourth Street Live! employee or third party contractor was involved in the incident or the individuals arrest."

Police accuse Osborne of getting into an altercation with Fourth Street Live security after being kicked out of Sully's, the arrest report says. Police were asked to "remove him from the premises."

Police allege that Osborne attempted to strike an officer and resisted before police could handcuff him, the arrest report says. Police allege that Russell—identified by Metro Councilman David James as Osborne's girlfriend— tried to keep police from arresting Osborne.

Osborne played for the Louisville Cardinals from 1993 to 1996. He was the 1993 Kentucky Mr. Basketball, playing for Male High School.

His attorney, Derwin Webb—himself a former Cardinals basketball player—says there were several witnesses that can prove Osborne did not do anything unlawful and was just questioning the situation. Osborne pleaded not guilty.

Webb says Osborne questioned the bouncer, “and the next thing you know not only was he on the ground but he was being kicked and beaten without any type of provocation or any type of resistance from him.”

“The video tape will be able to show how many people were there, what he did not do and show why we believe he is innocent of all the charges," Webb says.

Webb says it’s not his “desire to show this as a pattern at this point,” and that he’s concentrating on Osborne’s case right now.

Since Fourth Street Live opened in 2004, several people have made allegations of racial discrimination at the entertainment district's nightclubs. The dress code has been a longstanding issue and the source of lawsuits and protests.

“I do believe there is a pattern [of discrimination] but my issues right now is to make sure that Mr. Osborne’s rights are preserved for this one particular incident and if we have to go further, bringing in a class action suit that involves other people we will do that but right now I’m just representing Mr. Osborne on this specific charge.”

Update 1:14 p.m.: After being pressed with more questions, Fourth Street Live general manager Jim Layson said in a statement:

There was no altercation whatsoever between Fourth Street Live! security and the individual; the police determined the individual needed to leave the premises, escorted the individual off-property, and ultimately arrested the individual.

Based upon our internal investigation and the facts on the ground this matter was not about race; the police made a determination to arrest this individual based upon the circumstances. Any allegation otherwise is simply not true.

The arrest report says Osborne  was "involved in altercation with 4th St. Live security staff after being kicked out of Sully's bar."  It adds that "officers were asked to remove him from premises."