Blind man claims discrimination at Jax Beach bar

Author: Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Chris Robbins, Evening newscast producer, crobbins@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 12 2014 10:12:18 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 12 2014 11:10:00 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

A Mandarin couple is not happy with a Jacksonville Beach bar. Kevin Nealey is legally blind and claims he was forced to leave the Brix Taphouse Saturday night for no reason.

Nealey says his wife always escorts him to the bathroom in public places, then waits for him to come out.

The couple said when Nealey walked out of the bathroom, bouncers at the Brix told his wife they both needed to leave.

Nealey said he's not upset just because he got kicked out, he said it's the way the Brix has handled the situation, making up a story about why he was kicked out and acting like they could care less about his feelings.

"I'm very frustrated," Nealey said. "I mean, I have a disability, I'm blind."

Nealey feels he was discriminated against because of his disability.

"I continuously asked him and every time I asked, I said, 'He's blind, he's not drunk, not intoxicated. Why does he have to leave?' And all he kept saying was, 'We understand that, but he has to go," Leslie Nealey said.

Leslie said they got no answers Saturday night or Sunday from the Brix. Jacksonville Beach Police Department couldn't give them a reason either as to why he was kicked out. She said during a phone conversation Sunday, an officer asked if she was aware of any type of altercation that ever occurred between her husband and someone else in the bathroom, but both she and Kevin say that never happened.

"That never happened," Leslie said. "If it did, the bouncer would have escorted me out of the club, he wouldn't have let me just go back to my wife."

Kevin said he got in touch with someone at the Brix Sunday afternoon and they told him they weren't apologizing because they didn't do anything wrong. They also mentioned an altercation in the bathroom, but both Kevin and Leslie say there was never any altercation. 

Kevin also said they wouldn't give him the name of a manager and told him he could find that online. 

"I would like an apology, first of all, but most importantly I don't want any other people with disabilities to be treated the way I was treated," said Kevin.

He said a sergeant with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department called him back to tell him he can come in Monday to give a sworn statement and fill out a police report.

Kevin said he plans on doing that. He also said sometime this week he plans to be in touch with an attorney.

Channel 4 reached out to the Brix and they declined to comment.