July 16, 2013

Pub surveillance video shows parts of bar incident

Rachel Brown

— A local restaurant owner who said he was caught in the midst of a fight at the restaurant has turned over a video to investigators that shows two men who were asked to leave repeatedly tried to get back inside.

Oyster Pub owner Rafeek Mughrabi sustained abrasions to his face and arms during the July 5 incident, according to a police report. He told investigators he was trying to break up a fight after he had to escort two men out of his bar and restaurant.

Dewayne Demease, 37, of 1502 Riverbend Road in Dalton, was charged by the Dalton Police Department with simple assault. Jesse Kendall Couch, 24, of 156 Wild Rose Drive in Chatsworth, was charged with battery.

A surveillance video doesn’t show the fight, which happened just outside the doors, but it does show Couch and Demease repeatedly trying to re-enter the pub while another man, whom Mughrabi said is a security guard for him, stands with his back to the men in the doorway to block the entrance.

Mughrabi said he asked Couch, Demease and a woman with them to leave when he saw an exchange between Couch and at least one other person that looked like a fight was about to happen inside the pub.

The video shows Couch and Demease walk outside, and Mughrabi walks outside shortly after that and out of camera view.

Couch said in an interview that Mughrabi and others attacked him and that Demease came to his rescue. Mughrabi said he tried to separate Couch from fighting with another man outside the door after Couch was asked to leave.

The police report indicates Couch went to Hamilton Medical Center with a head injury. Couch said he received eight staples in his head. The report records statements from Couch’s sister, Brandi, who is also Demease’s girlfriend, that Mughrabi and several other men jumped Jesse Couch, while several other witnesses told an officer they saw Couch strike Mughrabi and Demease “attempt to attack” Mughrabi.

Mughrabi, who was not charged, said the evidence speaks for itself. There is no mention in the police report of Mughrabi hitting Couch with a metal object as Couch said happened. Couch and Demease said police wouldn’t listen to their side of the story.

“If (the men) would have just left when they were asked to leave, none of this would have happened,” Mughrabi said.