Former Basketball Player Sues Legends Dance Hall After Alleged Attack By Bouncers

Thursday, February 26th 2015, 9:35 pm
By: News On 6

A former college basketball player has sued a downtown Tulsa bar and its owners.

Michael Sanchez says the bouncers at Legends Dance Hall assaulted him in an unprovoked attack last fall and it was caught on tape.

Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing is part owner of Legends.

Sanchez tells his story exclusively to News On 6.

The lawsuit says Michael and a friend from Atlanta came to Legends in September, but they were attacked for no reason by the bouncers and it was all caught on tape.

The video starts inside, where you can see at the back of the room. The bouncers put their hands on Sanchez and his friend John Peterson and dragged them outside.

Once outside, you can see one bouncer get on top of Sanchez. He says the bouncer choked him unconscious.

Another bouncer grabs Peterson's friend from behind and lifts him off his feet and pulls him backward.

Sanchez gets dragged then punched several times more.

Both men are taken to the back and tossed off the dock.

"You just feel one-upped, in the most violating way possible,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez is 6-feet-9 and played basketball for University of Arkansas from 2007 to 2012 and hoped to take it to the next level by playing in the European league.

He says they'd only been at the bar a short time, had just ordered a drink at last call and were paying their ticket when a bouncer yelled at them to go.

Sanchez said they were complying when the bouncer grabbed his drink and threw it on the floor, then charged them.

“The guy started walking toward me with aggression in his eyes,” he said. “I could tell by his body language so I tried to neutralize it, ‘Hey, it's cool; we're leaving,' He just proceeded to charge."

Sanchez says the attack jacked up his knee and hurt his back and neck, and even though he's relived the attack thousands of times, seeing the video makes it that much worse.

"The horror of him putting his hands on my neck. We're just fortunate to be alive," Sanchez said.

The five bouncers -- Jesse Triplett, Jason Jensen, John Hoffman, Fred Crapse and Joshua Hanke -- were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. Sanchez said the fact it's a misdemeanor was like another punch to the gut, which is why he hired Smolen, Smolen and Roytman to file a lawsuit.

Sanchez said the days are gone when if someone wrongs you, you can challenge them to a duel, so his only option to make this right, is the lawsuit.