Bookies co-owner apologizes for shooting comments made

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The co-owner of Bookies Bar and Grill in Detroit has issued a statement saying he is sorry "for the insensitive manner in which my comments appeared on Facebook" following a backlash of criticism over online remarks me made of the fatal police shooting of a man in Tulsa.

"I want to express my deepest condolences and apology to the family of Terence Crutcher and the Tulsa, Oklahoma community for my comments on Facebook that may be viewed as hurtful or insensitive regarding the real tension that existed between African Americans and police officers across our country," Jerant said in an email released by D. Ericson & Associates PR  Tuesday night.

The apology came a day after his comments caused a stir in the area on social media. B.L.A.C. Detroit magazine on Monday reported Jerant commented on a video posted by a Facebook user David Gray Monday night. The video shows helicopter footage of Tulsa police shooting and killing an unarmed black man.

Gray, from Detroit, posted screen shots of the comments apparently left by Jerant on Gray’s video. “Please share so people know who you’re spending your money with,” Gray posted.

“Do you mean the unarmed man who didn’t listen to police...again,” wrote Jerant, according to the screen shots. “Get ready for the liberal media frenzy of BS. Then the audio will come out, then everyone will say he didn’t listen, then after a false narrative for three months by BLM (black lives matter) and ‘rioting peaceful protests’ everyone will say ohhh I guess he was wrong, and the police where right?”

“Simple story never changes,” he added. “Listen to police who have guns pointed at you and don’t get shot. It isn’t hard.”

By Tuesday, Jerant  looked to quantify his statements saying they were in response to a "spirited discussion." The remainder of the statement reads:

"My comments were in response to a spirited discussion I was having with my African American friend from high school of more than 18 years. He and I have had open and frank conversations regarding current affairs, politics, race, inequality and social justice. It’s common place for my friend and I to have candid exchanges on social media on issues and opinions that affect us both.

I am embarrassed and regret the tone and tenor of my comments, as written words often lose inflection. I was expressing thoughts that reflect, in some measure, the sentiments that have been shared by my African American friends, that unfortunately the best way when confronted by police offices is to follow their every command to avoid a fatal confrontation. It should not be the case that African Americans should fear for their safety when engaged by law enforcement. These are tragedies which need to end.

My comments in no way were intended to be disrespectful to Terence Crutcher, his actions or events that let to him being shot by Tulsa Police. I was expressing my concerns over once again seeing in the media another unarmed African American confronted by police officers that ended in death. This is an all too often occurrence and it needs to stop. I apologize for the insensitive manner in which my comments appeared on Facebook. My statements are my own and do not reflect my business, partnerships and staff at Bookies Bar & Grille.’’

Bookies co-owner Jay Lambrecht posted a statement on Facebook Tuesday around noon after being tagged in a post by Gray. Gray said in his post that he knows Lambrecht doesn’t hold the same views as Jerant.

“Thank you to all my great friends for your support and understanding that the comments made by my business partner are not mine nor are they of our wonderful staff at Bookies,” Lambrecht wrote.

“I am embarrassed and sorry, Bookies only has survived because of the community support of the last 14 years. I have been always been proud to have one of the most diverse bars in the city...that’s what makes Bookies a special place. David Gray was there for day one when we opened our doors. I am grateful for his support and I appreciate his ability to separate me from these remarks...hopefully our community can do the same.”

The Bookies Bar & Grille, located at 2209 Cass, should not be confused with Bookie’s Ham & Soul bar and restaurant at 23636 Grand River, nor the long-closed punk club Bookie’s Club 870.

The Bookies on Cass opened in 2009, after relocating from inside the Book Building where it operated since 2003.

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Twitter: @melodybaetens