CHICAGO (CBS) — A blues band claims their performance at a bar in Beverly was cut short because there were “too many black people” in the audience.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley spoke to the band’s members, who are still shocked.
Singer and trumpeter Brandon Bailey is the only black member of the Reprieve Blues Band, but Saturday night at McNally’s Pub in Beverly, it became clear his black friends and supporters weren’t welcome.
“It was all about the music and to find out that it became about race was very disappointing,” said Bailey.
After the second set, Mike Cummings, who booked the band for McNally’s, allegedly told the band leader, they were done for the night.
“I asked him why. He clearly stated there were too many black people in his place,” said band leader Glenn Osvarek.
“I would argue that shouldn’t even have been a question, but there were at least 25 or 30 people of color in the building that came to support myself and the band,” said Bailey.
When the band leader objected, Cummings repeated his rationale.
“He reiterated again, that we were cut off. We’re done playing and that there’s too many black people,” said Osvarek.
“I was surprised it was this blatant,” said Bailey.
The band got paid, packed up and left, but Bailey blew the whistle on his blog. Now, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, says the department is investigating Cummings, who, is reportedly a Chicago cop.
“We’re accountable for our behavior on or off duty. We’re going to investigate it and if it is in fact true, then appropriate actions will be taken,” said McCarthy.
CBS 2 attempted to contact Mike Cummings for reaction but failed to reach him. Chicago Police are strictly prohibited from owning a bar or holding a liquor license.
The owner of record for McNally’s is Erin Cullom. She couldn’t be reached for comment either.
The band leader to whom these racially-charged comments were directed, Glenn Osvarek, is a Chicago Police officer who’s currently on medical leave.