Black bouncer forces white patron to get on his knees and recite “Oh Great Fucking Brown Dude”

Strip club bouncer gets year in video beating

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Easton A. Byfield pleaded guilty to assault, robbery and kidnapping charges in Worcester Superior Court yesterday morning. (T&G Staff/DAN GOULD)
By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
gmurray@telegram.com
My son can’t go out of the house without looking over his shoulder constantly.

– Sidney Blanchard, FATHER OF ASSAULT VICTIM

WORCESTER —  A former strip club manager was sentenced to less than a year in jail yesterday after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the videotaped beating, robbery and kidnapping of a club patron last year.

Easton A. Byfield, 36, of Oxford, was sentenced to 364 days in the House of Correction with 3 years of probation to follow after entering guilty pleas yesterday morning in Worcester Superior Court to charges of assault and battery, unarmed robbery and kidnapping.

The crimes occurred May 25, 2010, in a men’s room at the Platinum Premier Gentlemen’s Club, 241 Southbridge St., but police did not begin an investigation until a videotape showing Mr. Byfield assaulting 25-year-old Patrick Blanchard of Sterling surfaced earlier this year on YouTube and other websites.

Mr. Byfield’s lawyer, Michael P. Murphy, who recommended the sentence imposed by Judge James R. Lemire, later told a reporter that his Jamaica-born client was expected to face immigration consequences as a result of his pleas, but it was his understanding that deportation would be less likely if Mr. Byfield were sentenced to less than one year in jail.

Assistant District Attorney Daniel J. Bennett recommended that Mr. Byfield be sentenced to 3 to 5 years in state prison.

Mr. Blanchard alleges in a pending civil lawsuit that Mr. Byfield took him into a men’s room at the club, falsely accused him of selling drugs to the dancers, repeatedly punched him in the face and stole $362 from him.

At one point on the videotape, which was uploaded to the Internet by another former club employee after he had a falling out with Mr. Byfield, Mr. Blanchard is seen being forced to kneel on the floor and pay homage to Mr. Byfield by reciting, “Oh great (expletive) brown dude. Oh great (expletive) brown dude.”

Mr. Bennett conceded that his recommended sentence of 3 to 5 years exceeded advisory sentencing guidelines used by most judges, but said the facts of the case warranted such a sentence.

The prosecutor said it was apparent from the video that Mr. Byfield was “attempting to humiliate Mr. Blanchard and not just take his money and not just confine him.”

Mr. Blanchard was not in court for the plea, but his father, Sidney Blanchard, was, accompanied by Andrea Levy, one of his son’s lawyers in the civil case. The elder Mr. Blanchard echoed Mr. Bennett’s sentiments and asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law.

The father described the videotape as “the most humiliating thing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

“My son can’t go out of the house without looking over his shoulder constantly,” he said, adding that Mr. Byfield did not appear remorseful.

“Mr. Byfield is very remorseful. He regrets what he did that evening,” said his lawyer. Mr. Murphy also noted that Mr. Byfield had no prior criminal record and is the father of two young children.

As conditions of probation, Mr. Byfield was ordered to have no contact with Mr. Blanchard and to pay him $362 in restitution.

In his civil suit, Mr. Blanchard alleges that the video has been viewed “hundreds of thousands” of times, causing him embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress.

A co-defendant in the case, Tien W. Russell, 25, of Leominster, was also charged with assault and battery, kidnapping and unarmed robbery as a joint venturer. The charges against Mr. Russell were dismissed in July in Central District Court.

Mr. Bennett said yesterday that Mr. Russell videotaped the beating and robbery at Mr. Byfield’s request, then uploaded it onto YouTube and other websites after he had a falling-out with Mr. Byfield and was fired by him.

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