Avoiding Trouble or Racism at Local Private Club

PARAGOULD, AR--It was supposed to be a night out at Hogan's Backstreet Lounge for a Paragould couple, but the night ended earlier than planned.

"The waitress came over and asked us to leave because a couple of people were uncomfortable about us being there. I said my money doesn't spend at this club? Then another lady came over and gave us our money back. She said I am trying to save your life, get out of here," said Roy Prather.

According to Prather, who was only drinking a Coke, he was asked to leave the private club after only 20 minutes. His wife Joan Dollins says it's an issue of the couple's race.

"It doesn't matter if he is black and I'm white it shouldn't matter," said Dollins.

According to patrons inside the bar, black people are actually served all the time. In fact bar owner Tammy Hogan says this is the first time in three years of owning the establishment that she asked a black man to leave.

"It had nothing to do with race. It had something to do with fore seeing some sort of a problem that was going to get someone hurt," said bar regular Dewayne Jones.

Hogan says Dollins was drunk and causing trouble with around 13 people inside the bar. The argument revolved around the race of Dollins and her husband. Rather than kick out 13 people, Hogan felt the situation would be easily resolved if the couple left the club. Bar regular and former bouncer Dewayne Jones felt Hogan was protecting her business.

"You got to foresee trouble, and if you can foresee it before it starts, that saves a lot of broken bones and a lot of property damage. So it's smart to catch it before it gets there," said Jones.

The couple says the whole situation leaves a bad taste in their mouth and they are actually scared walking around town after dark.

"Right now, if I had the money, I would leave," said Prather.

According to Hogan, both Prather and Dollins weren't club members and by law she can refuse service to anyone she wants because it is a private club.

According to the bar owner, to discourage future problems Prather and Dollins are no longer allowed in their club.