For years, the Saint nightclub, located at 1520 14th St. NW, has been a hot spot for the city’s international elite.
Moneyed foreigners and their American wannabes line up by the dozen on most weekend nights to gain entrance to the club, where air kisses rain and the beautiful children of diplomats sip from bottles of Cristal.
But even among the beautiful, sometimes things get ugly.
On Jan. 17, Shaw resident Anthony Ward and his brother, Corey, 29, of Richmond, Va., were at the club celebrating Anthony’s 28th birthday. According to a statement Anthony later filed with District police, the brothers were about to leave the club when an argument broke out between Corey and an unidentified male patron at the club. That patron then complained to the Saint’s security staff.
According to Anthony’s account, he and his brother were on their way to retrieve their jackets from the club’s coat check when six security guards approached and asked them to leave the bar immediately. Anthony told one guard that they would leave the club as soon as they got their jackets, according to his statementbut that allegedly wasn’t quick enough.
Ward told police that he and his brother were immediately attacked by the security guards. One guard, later identified as James Gordon Sidney, 33, of Hyattsville, allegedly hit Corey in the face with brass knuckles, knocking him to the ground. Anthony, too, was allegedly pushed to the ground, then kicked and punched for several minutes along with his brother.
According to the police report, Corey suffered multiple injuries during the run-in, including a cracked skull, damaged eye socket, and facial and body lacerations. Anthony, meanwhile, suffered a broken right ankle and injuries to his left shoulder, chest, and neck. Both men were treated and released at Inova Alexandria Hospital.
To add insult to injury, Anthony reported to the police that during the melee Sidney and the other guards made off with at least $500 worth of personal items belonging to the pair, including a car-stereo face plate valued at $400, a $90 Kenneth Cole watch, $25 in cash, and a leather jacket.
Two weeks later, on Jan. 31, police were called to the Saint after the Ward brothers spotted Sidney entering the nightclub. The bouncer was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and theft. Sidney was also charged with possession of a personal protection weapon after officers discovered a set of brass knuckles in his back pocket.
“I keep those because sometimes it gets rough in the club,” Sidney told officers, according to his arrest report. Upon recognizing the Wards, Sidney also told officers that the brothers “got the jacket back”referring to the jacket allegedly stolen during the melee.
What prompted the commotion at the Saint is unclear. The Wards both declined to be interviewed for this story, and their lawyer, D.C. defense attorney W. Lewis Hennessy, refused to comment. James Sidney, who no longer works at the Saint, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.
Club owner Danny Davis insists the bouncer’s arrest had nothing to do with the Saint. “He was arrested on something unrelated to his job,” Davis says. When asked how long Sidney had been employed at the Saint, Davis hung up; he did not return phone calls seeking further comment.
A preliminary hearing date on the charges has been set for May.
Police, too, decline to comment on the case, because the investigation into the incident is ongoing. However, Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Kenneth Bryson says that assault complaints against nightclub bouncers are not unusual in the District.
“There are and have been cases where people just go too far,” Bryson says. CP