NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — “I can’t breathe.” Some of the last words captured on video before a Smyrna man died at a popular downtown bar.
Dallas “DJ” Barrett was last seen alive in the video taken back on Aug. 16. He died after he was held down by security guards at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.
A witness recorded nearly four minutes of the incident after she said a number of security guards had already held Barrett down for at least five minutes.
“He said he couldn’t breathe, you can hear him in the video say he couldn’t breathe,” the witness who didn’t want to be identified told News 2.
However, five security guards continued to hold Barrett down, she said, as he was subdued and not fighting.
“You can see DJ smacking the ground telling him to get up. He’s like OK, that’s enough. OK stop,” she explained.
The witness said a security guard tried to stop her from recording, telling her he can breathe. An interaction was captured on the video.
“He had five people on his back and they just laid there on him. They laid on him. He asked them to get up, he said he couldn’t breathe. They laid on him so he started fighting to get up. He couldn’t breathe, so at this point, this man is fighting for his life,” she said.
It was a fight Barrett ultimately lost.
“I’m so sorry for his mother. I don’t think he deserved it, it was so sad. I don’t even know how to describe it. I never watched anyone take their last breath.”
The video is too hard for Barret’s best friend to watch. Bradyn Anderson was beside Barrett, also detained by security on the ground that night.
“I remember trying to get as many people off as I could, but just got overwhelmed,” Anderson told News 2.
The two friends were going through similar struggles; pinned to the ground by a number of security staff. In the video, you can see Barrett facing the camera phone with Anderson’s feet are beside him.
“[They] brought me to the ground and then they got their knees on my shoulders, some on my back, got their hands on my legs. I couldn’t breathe. He’s a bigger guy, you know what I’m saying I know he couldn’t,” he explained.
While Anderson said the video is too hard to watch, Friday for the first time he listened to Barrett’s cries for help. It’s a chilling plea that leaves Anderson even more heartbroken.
“We had a lot of plans you know,” he began to tear up.
The two shared a bond deeper than friends.
“Oh yeah, brothers.”
A brother he lost at the end of a night out celebrating.
“It doesn’t make sense. That’s excessive for my brother to be gone in such a way… that’s not how it’s supposed to go. The way the night started you would have never guessed it, you’d have never guessed it. You just never know when or where,” he said.
Today he’s left along with the family grasping for answers with a whirlwind of emotions.
“Confusion. I feel lost, kind of numb … sad. Devastated,” Anderson said.
No resolve, no justice in the case. as Barrett’s loved ones seek closure.
Metro Police said the case is an ongoing homicide investigation. News 2 has requested a copy of Barrett’s autopsy results, but they are not yet complete.