A manager and employee at the Bier Garden, a bar and restaurant in downtown Asheville, were arrested on assault charges after fighting with an Alcohol Law Enforcement agent early last Saturday morning. ALE alleges that the agent, David Miller, was attacked while trying to write tickets to employees and their friends, who were drinking after hours.
Malcolm Knighten, a manager, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly striking Miller twice with a bar stool and Michael Plemmons, a bouncer, was charged with assault inflicting serious injury after he purportedly struck Miller and bit one of his fingers. Both were arrested, and later had additional charges tacked on of resisting arrest and interfering with an Alcohol Beverage Control inspection.
“Miller looked through the window and saw people drinking after hours [around 3 a.m.],” local ALE supervisor Alan Page told Xpress. “That is a violation of North Carolina law [which prohibits drinking in a bar after 2:30 a.m.]. He walked in, told them who he was and started to write a ticket.”
Page said that those Miller was about to ticket — two unidentified employees and one patron — were cooperative. “There were no problems, they knew what they were doing was illegal. They were pouring out their drinks and he [Miller] was getting ready to write a ticket and let them go.”
Then, Page said, Plemmons approached Miller “and started cursing at him,” then struck Miller with his fist and began grappling with him. Page also asserted that Plemmons bit Miller’s index finger.
“Then Knighten struck Dave with a bar stool — holding it above his head, he struck him twice,” Page said. “The patron [that Miller was about to ticket earlier] stepped in and took the stool away from him.”
After the altercation, the Asheville Police Department arrived on the scene and arrested Knighten and Plemmons. Plemmons’ bond was set at $6,000 and Knighten’s at $5,500.
Miller, Page said, experienced back pain as a result of the fight, along with lacerations on his index finger and above his left eye.
“I’m concerned that the people there were just sitting around while this was going on. You’d think people would have a civil obligation to help someone in need,” Page said. “Though that one guy [who took the bar stool from Knighten] did help, and we appreciate that.”
He added that the Bier Garden “could face administrative penalties” for the incident, along with the charges against the employees.
Xpress was unable to reach Bier Garden employees for comment.
— David Forbes, staff writer