Bookies parts ways with co-owner amid shooting comments

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Bookies Bar and Grille in Detroit “severed ties” Thursday with the co-owner who came under scrutiny for online remarks made about the fatal police shooting of a man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Bookies Bar and Grille severed ties with Mark Jerant, a minority partner in the business. I will be the sole owner of the bar moving forward,” Jay Lambrecht said in a statement posted to the eatery’s Facebook page.

“Bookies has always prided itself on being a welcoming place to everyone. This is what I envisioned when I first opened Bookies in 2003 — a place where anyone and everyone would feel welcome. Mark’s comments in no way reflect that of my own views or our staff,” Lambrecht said.

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

Gray of Detroit posted screen shots of the comments apparently left by Jerant on his 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.”

In his statement Thursday, Lambrecht said he hoped parting ways with Jerant would be the first step in repairing relationships in the community.

“Two days ago, I stated actions speak louder than words on camera ... this is my first action,” he said. “My next action is to regain trust in the community both personally and as a business. I have worked in Detroit for 20 years and operated a business here for 14. I love this city, its culture, and community.

“We value the support our customers have shown our team and hard-working employees during this difficult period and appreciate your ongoing loyalty. We commit to you that we will continue to work to provide a great customer experience to all of our guests.”

Previously, Jerant issued an apology for his comments.

“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.

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