A mother’s love and plea to legislators to hear HB 207

I am Toni Graham, Christopher McKinney’s mother, and want you to know that Christopher’s untimely death could have been prevented had a law been in place requiring bouncers to have training and certification.  Nothing currently exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Nothing currently exists in many states, actually.

On January 5, 2020, I received a call from Nicholas Clark, Christopher’s husband letting me know that Christopher had been transported to University of Louisville Hospital in the early morning hours.  As soon as I got the call, I rushed from Lexington to Louisville, and wasn’t expecting Christopher’s injuries to be as serious as they were. I walked into his room and saw him on a ventilator, and he had tubes coming from his head.  I was totally shocked to see my precious son not responding to anything.  I didn’t know what had happened to him at that point.  The brain surgeon told me that Christopher was hit in the head and that he would not survive.  The surgeon told me that the blow to his head was very severe and as soon as he was hit, he was unconscious. My son went brain dead minutes after he was hit by a bouncer who was under the influence, has a violent history and who was never trained to be a bouncer.

I can’t believe that I had to watch my son take his last breath.  No mother should ever have to go through a tragedy like this one.  I couldn’t understand why the bouncer would have delivered a fatal blow to Christopher.  I barely could think straight for a few weeks after Christopher’s death.  

As I came out of my fog and could think a little clearer, I was livid when I found out the whole reason for the bouncer to kill my son was because his ego mattered more to him than the safety of a bar patron he was supposed to protect.   Evidence shows that Christopher was not a threat to anyone’s safety.  

The bouncer had been drinking and allegedly doing drugs that night.  He used excessive force on Christopher.   The bouncer even stated that Christopher didn’t give him any trouble.  Christopher dropped his phone and bent down to pick it up.  Christopher was trying to straighten himself back up after bending over and the bouncer stated that he thought Christopher was going to hit him with his left hand.   Christopher was right handed and wouldn’t have tried to hit him with his left hand, or at all.  The bouncer even stated Christopher didn’t make contact.

This incident still haunts me to this very day.  My precious son lost his life because he wanted his coat and to just get an Uber and go home.  There is NO excuse for ANYONE to be under the influence while on the job. The number of individuals who reached out to us about their experiences at this specific bar show that violence and drugs are not an unusual occurrence at this bar. For many years, that is the sentiment of many people, and former employees. My son could still be alive if the bouncer would have been trained, not under the influence and did not have a violent history. 

Christopher’s Law is needed. Christopher’s case is not an isolated one. Just like any profession has to have training and education, SO should bouncers. They should not get a pass, especially when their sole job is to keep people safe.

Kentucky Senators and State Representatives, please give Christopher’s Law a hearing. What happened to Christopher CANNOT and SHOULD NOT happen to anyone ever again. I am begging and pleading with legislators to consider House Bill 207 for a hearing. This is a simple, straightforward, and common sense bill that should be enacted in every state.

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