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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington pub owner had his own run-in with trouble downtown recently. He says he was attacked from behind as he tried to walk away from a misunderstanding at another bar. His alleged attacker is a bouncer who has been in trouble before.

Side Bar bouncer Steven Fox is charged with simple assault after he allegedly choked 46-year-old Richard Anderson. The Fat Tony’s owner says a group of friends were celebrating a birthday that night. They walked into the side bar when another bouncer asked the gray-haired Anderson for his ID.

Anderson admits he didn’t have an ID and asked the bouncer to let him stay. Seeing that he was not going to win Anderson started for the door telling the bouncer he was going to leave.

“Right when I said that someone who I had not seen before came from behind and put me in a choke hold and put me back so I was down on the ground,” Anderson said. “I put my hands in the air, I was not posing a threat. My fists weren’t raised. My voice was never raised. He was not trying to get me out of the door. He was just choking me.”

The bouncer was identified as Fox, a man who was convicted of assaulting another customer in 2009.

We asked Fox at his home if had any any comment…

“I have an attorney about that, so I’m not going to say anything,” Fox said.

Experienced bouncers like Tre Benzio’s Craig Shepard say getting physical with a customer should be a last resort. He says courtesy is the way to go.

“Even harsh words with anyone, you try to avoid that,” Shepard said. “‘Yes, sir. No, sir.’ Anything to calm the situation.”

As for Anderson, he just hopes no one else has to experience what he did.

“I don’t know what I would like to see come out of it, but I would definitely like to see no one else get hurt like that,” Anderson said. “Every time I swallow, still three weeks later it’s painful.”

According to court records, Fox has two warrants out for his arrest. One is for the assault against Anderson. The other for failing to pay all his fees from his 2009 assault case.

Comment on this Story

  • PatBB

    3 times in 2006 or 7. I met 2 acquaintances by chance one night on the sidewalk. They said, ‘We’re going to the Sidebar. Wanna come along?’ I said ‘yes.’ They got in without question, but I was asked for my membership card. I said I was the guest of the 2 acquaintances and/ or would like to apply for membership as I had dome at many other ‘Private Clubs.’ The bouncer told me I needed to come back 10AM–5PM Tue.–Fri. to speak to the Membership Manager to apply!

    Several days later I happened to be downtown in the daytime & went to the Sidebar. I opened the door and saw a meeting of owners/ managers, one of whom scowled, ‘What do you want? We’re closed!’ I asked for the Membership Manager & was told he wasn’t there. Then one night a bouncer of another bar confirmed my suspicion that this is a common ploy to exclude anyone who doesn’t fit in to their clientele–wrong age, race, skin color, sexual orientation, etc. OK, I’m 40-something & most Sidebar customers are 20-something. Perhaps he thought I was an ALE agent or looking for trouble with my daughter’s boyfriend or something!

  • MuscleHamster

    Steve has been doing martial arts since he was a boy. Anyone that knows anything about martial arts or a rear naked choke knows that if done properly the choke is a blood choke and is done by applying pressure to both sides of the neck via the carotid arteries to reduce blood flow to the brain thus eventually causing the victim to pass out and go unconcious. The choke has nothing to do with crushing ones throat. You can tell this guy is obviously looney and full of crap. What a chump. Sorrry you’re not selling enough pizza dude, maybe you should spill a cup of hot mcdonalds coffee on yourself next.

  • Guesttttt

    I saw this guy on the news, and there is no misunderstanding that he is well over 21. I’m wondering if they ID everyone, or was the ID requested for a credit card transaction? Seems like there is much more to this story on both sides than have been revealed. Even if the bouncer is the biggest a-hole out there, I can’t imagine him choking out a middle aged man for not having an ID. Definitely more to this story.

  • Rich Anderson

    I am the Rich Anderson in this story. I can understand why some people might not think a bouncer would attack somebody for no reason. It does seem weird. But, that’s what happened. I wasn’t warned. There was no attempt to get me out the door. Just attacked. Why? I have no idea.

    One thing that was wrong in this story, was that I do have an ID. I don’t get carded because I am a middle-aged man. When they asked for my ID I was already inside and just wanted to go. That was when I was attacked.

    I know that bouncing is a tough job and that they are bound to overreact at times. This went beyond that.

    I have no plans of suing. I just want no one else to get hurt by someone who has a history of this behavior.

  • Guest44

    do you mean like an individual with two arrest warrants?

  • Challengetheworld

    He is a criminal, if he is already late or whatever on paying fees from a prior charge, that means he was guilty of at least one assault charge. Technically, that would mean he is more then just innocent until proven guitly.

    Sidebar, City Limts ETC ETC ETC have one major problem. Too many drunk people in a little place. These places are too close together and there are too many of them downtown. Sidebar is known to unleash the floodgates around 230am with plenty of well intoxicated patrons willing to swing away.

  • jlynnh68

    and how is this any different from any other fairley large town in this country?

  • Soundlike a drunk

    #1 I personally don’t like steve
    Having said that, just because somebody went and took a warrant out on him doesnt mean he is guilty of anything,. I was not there, but i can safely say most bouncers dont just go around choking innocent customers for no reason. im sure this drunk bar owner was innocent and didnt do a thing wrong,(right)? im sure this Drunk just jumped up like he said and tried to leave without saying or doing anything wrong….
    If this Drunk just stood there trying to talk the bouncer into letting him stay(even without aggression) then he was still commiting 2nd degree trespassing,. When you are asked to leave someone elses property or business then you are required by law to leave. Sounds to me like this guy knows what he is doing, just looking for a law suit… P.S. Why was this Perfect(drunk) citizen refused entry into another bar??? Im sure its because he was innocent there to.

  • Guest12345

    how does not having your ID turn into a misunderstanding… not much to understand ,(NO ID NO service,) If asked to leave, You should (and are legally required to) leave, if you dont then you can and should be escorted out, how much force is used depends on how much you resist., thats not against the law.. Not very hard to understand how it works.. Maybe Sidebar should take out some papers on Fat Tony for trespassing:))))))

  • Ken Sheffield

    My money is always on the Marines! Semper Fi

  • martialarts

    He might know a little bit of martial arts but guys like him are a dime a dozen these days. It’s not hard to physically control someone who is sloppy drunk. I guarantee some of those Marines and corn fed boys from Leland that go to City Limits would give him a run for his money if they were sober. He’s just your typical roided out pretty boy meathead used to dealing with people that don’t fight back.

  • Ms. Lady

    Steve is an arrogant jerk . I am not surprised . He better be careful ! One day he is going to meet his match .

  • Sarah

    This is a tough job where every customer is drunk and behaving their worst. Steve has saved me from harms way before, and I have seen him be very courteous to some of the rudest people I have ever seen. Every criminal, or person in the wrong always says ” I was just minding my own business ” Well, thousands of people that mind their own business actually get to walk in and out of the bar with no problems. It’s the unruly customers that should just stay home that seem to get in trouble. When they sober up, they want to blame the “bouncer”

  • Figures

    Steve is a piece of garbage.. He thinks b/c he knows martial arts he can go around assaulting people. Sidebar needs to cut ties with this clow seeing he will end up in prison sometime on the near future

  • Downtown

    Yea these wierdos think they have a license to beat on people. Normally they are targeting the younger Marines or college kids to show off for the girls. When these bouncers attack people they need to be thrown in JAIL and also never be allowed to work as a bouncer or security staff again. The bar should be sued for employing a liability!!!! They obviously knew that this guy was charged for an assault before because it happened in their bar!!! If ever touched by any staff at a bar immediately call the police. Not saying wilmington PD will do anything about it, but at least there will be a report against the bar or club and there staff member.

  • jlynnh68

    First of all let me say I am NOT defending Steve; however, as the comment states below, this is a very hard job that does not pay that great of money. I for one do not think you should group all persons who hold a job as a “bouncer” into the same category. Its just like cops, there is always going to be a bad seed, this does not make them all bad, and I am pretty sure your one of those humans that have nothing positive to say about any kind of structure/law/rules/etc. but are the first one to run to those same people when you need help.
    Having said that – if you go to a bar and don’t show your tell you want have this problem. As for the owner of Fat Tony’s, he of all people should know what the rules and regulations are for bars and their patrons that are handed down from Alcohol Law Enforcement and should set a good example and actually follow those laws. None of us were their and yes Steve has over acted on numerous occasions but i could almost bet that this guy isn’t as innocent as he is playing himself out to be. He’s just pissed and embaressed cause he got his butt beat in front of all his friends and feels like he has something to prove.

  • i got ur back

    Maybe these bouncers/security need to start taking out warrants on these so called innocent Customers who assault them and then as soon as they get to the door scream about how they were innocent and was only trying to leave…BTW, I believe there are cameras now inside and outside Sidebar, would love to see how innocent this guy really was..

  • Paul S.

    Sidebar has been known to excessively “rough up” their customers. Why does anyone still go there when there are plenty of other good bars within a stones throw? Also, how is a guy like Steve with an assault charge allowed to keep a job as a bouncer? Seems ridiculous to me.

    Once again side bar shows how much they really care about their customers.

  • G

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. The bouncer is the bad guy….until he is protecting your sorry butt! Don’t believe one side of the story. I’m sure Mr. “I own fat Tonys” never raised his voice or hands. BS!

  • Guest-of-the-day

    According to court records, Fox has two warrants out for his arrest. One is for the assault against Anderson. The other for failing to pay all his fees from his 2009 assault case.
    seems like he should be pretty easy to find. He’s the bouncer at “Sidebbar” officers! Can we see some proper adjudication of the law here?

  • J

    Having a form of security like this is a good way to drive away true patrons, along with leaving a sour taste in the mouths of friends.. Regardless of how many college kids pack the place in. I will not spend a dime in the side bar as long as he is employed there.

  • Tam

    Steroids make you crazy!

  • Guest2

    I doubt the big shot bar owner “never raised his voice or hands”. Please, people. Use common sense. Bouncers protect your scrawny butts when you need it. It’s a tough job. Don’t believe everything you read.

  • Riddler

    So the guy owns a bar and he visits another bar without I.D. maybe I’m missing the point.

  • Bar Patron

    What Bars are horrible to go to?
    The ones with poor security that let in the worst crowds. Sidebar is always crowded because they have a fun, attractive crowd. Steve has to say no to hundreds of overly intoxicated guys and girls every night. If he didn’t, Sidebar would be like oh: Rox,Rhino,City Limits,etc. etc. All of the places that you DON’T want to go to. The owner of a Bar, that was already kicked out of another bar that night, and refused to carry I.D. should have known better. This is a B.S. charge. If you have to fight with drunks 52 weekends a year for years on end, you are going to have a few haters out there. This guy just wants to sue a rival bar because of his ego.

  • security

    you really think anyone anywhere has a stricter security then City limits??? If so, you are really showing you dont know what your talking about. City Limits has like 15 bouncers, a metal detector. and the only ones i know of (downtown) that contracts 2 cops@ $30 a hour per cop. Which all the bars around them benefit from. As far as this situation, Steve is a jerk always has been always will be, and im sure that Anderson guy wasnt innocent. And yes steve does say no alot, to people he doesnt like, marines, and anyone else he feels like. thats what being a private club allows you to do. This guy was asked to leave , he didnt so he was removed, seems kinda straight forward, to the point, and legal!!!!!

  • PatBB

    In my boyhood hometown of Youngstown, OH, there was a tavern where one or both owners were retiring & the son(s) was/were taking over. The fathers were known for impartial discipline, but the son(s)didn’t want to reprimand or 86 when both customers in a conflict were his buddies/ regulars. In a few years word got around among the bad element that they could pull (feces) & get away with it, so more gangstas came in while law-abiding citizens stayed away. Finally, they went out of business & re-opened 6 miles away in a fancier building in a rural area & started over.


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