CHICAGO — Chicago police officer Danny Golden was shot last summer after the shorthanded staff of a Beverly bar — operating illegally — “implored” him to break up a fight, a newly filed lawsuit alleges.
Sean’s Rhino Bar and Grill — which closed last year and remains for sale — violated its liquor license, ignored capacity restrictions and did not have security guards working on the night that Golden was shot last July, according to the lawsuit filed last month by Golden and his brother, who was also wounded in the shooting.
The bar’s parent company, The Johns Den, Inc., and the three men charged in the shooting were all named as defendants in the lawsuit. The charges against the men are still pending, and it’s likely that any civil action against them will be put on hold while their criminal cases progress.
“The Johns Den, Inc., by and through their employees and/or agents, because of their failure to have appropriate security staff and failure to close the Rhino Bar to the aforesaid individuals, implored Plaintiff, Daniel Golden, to de-escalate the altercation outside the premises of Rhino Bar,” the lawsuit, filed Feb. 27, states.
The first hearing in the eight-count negligence suit is scheduled for early May, according to Cook County court records. The owner of the now-closed bar, Dennis Shaughnessy, could not be reached for comment.
According to prosecutors, Golden and his brother were inside the bar talking with family and friends when three men — Bryant Hayes, Demetrius Harrell and Justen Krismanits — walked in. The three entered at 2:23 a.m. and “the bar was full of patrons.” Minutes later, the three got into an argument that soon turned physical, and the altercation soon spilled out onto South Western Avenue.
Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy told reporters that Golden was not part of the fight, but instead was trying to separate those involved. As Golden was playing peacemaker, several others from inside the bar started to chase Hayes south on Western. Hayes was then tackled to the ground, Murphy said. Then, Murphy said, Krismanits went to his car, parked nearby at 104th and Artesian, and retrieved a gun.
Krismanits then returned to the area, but by then, though, the fighting had stopped and the bar patrons were walking away, Murphy said. Krismanits gave the gun to Hayes, who fired 19 rounds, striking Golden in the back and his brother in the leg. Hayes then handed the gun to Harrell, who fired several more shots, though no one was hit.
Golden’s shooting prompted an outpouring of support from first responders and law enforcement officers, and a GoFundMe set up for Golden has taken in more than $1.5 million.
According to the Goldens’ lawsuit, the staff of Sean’s Rhino Bar and Grill “routinely” allowed patrons to exceed the bar’s capacity. On the night of the shooting, the suit alleges, there were 89 people inside. Meanwhile, only “two slightly built female bartenders [were] working and no other bartending staff.”
“On July 9, 2022, Defendant, The Johns Den, Inc., the management of Rhino Bar, failed to stop bartenders from serving alcohol at 1:45 a.m., to stop individuals from entering the bar at 1:30 a.m., to escort people out of the bar, to ensure that the bar did not pass their occupancy capacity, and/or assist in closing the bar at 2:00 a.m.,” the Goldens’ lawsuit states.
After the shooting, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection inspected Sean’s Rhino Bar and Grill. Records obtained through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act show that inspectors determined that the bar, which opened at 10330 S. Western Ave. in 1999, violated its liquor license by remaining open after 2 a.m. on the night of the shooting. The city soon ordered the bar closed, and public real estate listings show that the property was put up for sale in October 2022.