Whiskey Row death timeline: What's happened since Nashville bar patron's death a year ago

This month marks one year since Dallas Barrett died after a fight with security guards at Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, a popular downtown Nashville honky tonk.

Police said Barrett, 22, was held to the ground during the fight. A medical examiner said he died of oxygen deprivation.

Six security guards and another man were later charged in his death. Their cases are still making their way through court.

Barrett's death inspired a new Tennessee law that tightened training requirements for private guards. The Tennessean first reported that four of the six guards were unlicensed. Further reporting exposed loopholes in state regulations for private guards. It also uncovered lawsuits and a criminal case against guards involved in Barrett's death.

This timeline examines what has happened since Barrett's death on Aug. 16, 2021, and The Tennessean's extensive coverage.

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Barrett's death, autopsy results, security footage

Aug. 16, 2021: Barrett died after a fight with security guards at Whiskey Row. He was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. Whiskey Row turned over full security footage to police and district attorney, but declined to release it to The Tennessean.

Aug. 17, 2021: The Davidson County Medical Examiner's office completed Barrett's autopsy and determined his death was due to asphyxiation. The autopsy report concluded his manner of death was homicide.

Tammy Barrett, left, poses with her son Dallas "DJ" Barrett in this undated photo.
Tammy Barrett, left, poses with her son Dallas "DJ" Barrett in this undated photo.

Nov. 5: Autopsy results are released to The Tennessean. The same day, Whiskey Row released partial security footage to The Tennessean, edited into two short clips.

The edited footage appeared to show Barrett entering the bar the night of Aug. 16, 2021. One clip appeared to show Barrett walking through the bar and pushing a woman out of his way. In a second clip, during a conversation with security guards that cannot be heard on the video, Barrett appeared to punch a guard.

AUTOPSY RESULTS: Man restrained by security at Lower Broadway bar died of oxygen deprivation

A statement provided by a Whiskey Row spokesperson said a security guard asked Barrett to leave and attempted to escort him and others out.

A bystander's video provided to local TV stations appeared to show several men holding Barrett on his stomach on the bar floor, while someone yells "I can't breathe."

The district attorney later denied The Tennessean's public records request for the full security footage, citing the ongoing case.

Nov. 13: The Barrett family held a protest outside Whiskey Row, calling for justice for Dallas Barrett.

Tammy Barrett stands outside a courtroom in the Justice A.A. Birch building with her lawyer, Jon Slager, on April 7.
Tammy Barrett stands outside a courtroom in the Justice A.A. Birch building with her lawyer, Jon Slager, on April 7.

Dec. 17: Seven people, including six guards employed by Whiskey Row and another man, were all indicted on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated assault in Barrett's death, according to MNPD.

Those indicted were identified as:

  • John Eustace, 26 (guard)

  • Tarrell Gray, 25 (guard)

  • Dylan Thomas Larocca, 33 (guard)

  • Jaelen Alexander Maxwell, 23 (guard)

  • Mallet Daquan Meneese, 30 (guard)

  • Mark Ryan Watkins, 24 (guard)

  • Steve John Simon, 44

When Larocca turned himself in for the indictment, he was also served a criminal summons from a misdemeanor assault charge from 2019, records show. An affidavit stated Larocca assaulted a patron while working as a security guard at Florida Georgia Line House in downtown Nashville in March 2019. The case was later bound over to a grand jury.

Gray was also previously named in two lawsuits that accuse him of provoking confrontations and assaulting patrons as a guard at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in 2016 and 2017. Both suits were still ongoing as of this month.

TARRELL GRAY: Tootsie's patrons sued Nashville security guard over violence years before Whiskey Row death

DYLAN LAROCCA: Security guard charged in Whiskey Row death faces separate assault charge, records show

Suspended licenses and state action

Jan. 7: The Tennessean obtained state records that revealed Whiskey Row guards Tarrell Gray, John Eustace, Jaelen Maxwell and Mark Watkins were not properly licensed the night of Barrett's death. All the guards' licenses, whether pending or active, were later denied or suspended.

The records also revealed Whiskey Row LLC was fined $9,000 by the state and had its license to employ private security guards suspended. That suspension was later lifted, with conditions.

People walk in front of Whiskey Row in downtown Nashville on March 31.
People walk in front of Whiskey Row in downtown Nashville on March 31.

Jan. 31: Tennessee legislators proposed a bill that would close a loophole in state law to boost training requirements for unarmed private security guards.

The move came after a Tennessean analysis of state law revealed unarmed guards employed solely by a proprietary security organization, such as Whiskey Row LLC, were not required to complete training to get licensed. One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, said that analysis was part of what inspired him to propose the bill.

March 17: The Tennessean obtained records revealing Whiskey Row LLC was penalized an additional $26,000 by the state over employing unlicensed guards.

Barrett's death inspires Dallas's Law, criminal case continues

April 27: Dallas's Law officially passed the Tennessee legislature and headed to Gov. Bill Lee's desk.

June 1: Lee signed Dallas's Law, which requires first aid, CPR, restraint and de-escalation training for private guards working in places licensed to serve alcohol. It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Aug. 18: All seven men charged in Barrett's death are set to appear in court for a discussion hearing.

Find reporter Rachel Wegner at rawegner@tennessean.com or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Whiskey Row Nashville: What's happened since honky tonk patron's death