Bill inspired by death at Whiskey Row passes Senate in Tennessee

Dallas Barrett.jpeg
Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 18:56:40-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill that would require de-escalation training for security guard applicants now awaits passage through the House before it becomes law in Tennessee.

Known as "Dallas's Law," the bill originated after the death of Dallas "DJ" Barrett as Whiskey Row in August 2021. Investigations revealed that unlicensed security guards handled Barrett within the bar during altercation. When officers arrived, they found Barrett, 22, unresponsive on the floor of the rooftop. The medical examiner ruled his death as a homicide, and determined his cause of death was asphyxiation.

As written, the bill has requirements for both unarmed and armed security guards. Both have to complete four hour of general training, complete de-escalation techniques and hold a current certification from the American Red Cross to render emergency aid.

The bill passed through the Senate 28-1, with only Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon voting against the measure. Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, and Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville sponsored the legislation.

"The state Senate took decisive action to ensure that no other mother will have to endure the murder of her son by unlicensed, untrained security guards working on Lower Broadway," Barrett's mother, Tammy, said in a statement through her legal team. "I am pleased beyond measure with the unwavering courage displayed by the state Senate today. Sen. Mark Pody sounded the only discordant note today on Capitol Hill when he voted against Dallas's Law, apparently unconcerned with the Wild West atmosphere that pervades Lower Broadway respecting the lack of licensure and training of security personnel working there."

For it to become law, the legislation will have to advance in the House. Right now, the measure is placed on the subcommittee calendar for the Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee for April 13.

"I am confident that Rep. Beck will not cease his tireless efforts in our state House of Representatives to honor my son's memory by ensuring that every person who visits Lower Broadway remains safe and unharmed and lives to recount their experience in our state capitol," his mom said in her statement. "I eagerly await the day when the Tennessee House of Representatives votes to pass Dallas's Law. This day cannot arrive soon enough for me."