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April 26, 2022

Video shows bouncer punch man outside Center City bar, prompting homicide investigation

Eric Pope, 41, died of his injuries following the April 16 incident at Tabu Lounge

Investigations Homicide
Tabu Bar Punch Video StreetView/Google

A bouncer at Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, 254 S. 12th Street, punched a man on the street during the early hours of April 16. The man died a week later, leading to an ongoing homicide investigation by Philadelphia police.

A man who was punched by a bouncer outside of Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar in Center City earlier this month has died of his injuries after he spent a week in the hospital, Philadelphia police said. Authorities are now investigating the April 16 incident as a homicide.

Eric Pope, 41, of Washington, D.C., died Saturday at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he had been listed in critical condition following the punch that left him unconscious on the street.

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Pope was at the nightclub in the Gayborhood, on South 12th Street between Locust and Spruce streets, when he was escorted outside the bar for being intoxicated, police said. Surveillance video of the incident was captured by the bar's cameras and obtained by FOX29.

In the video below, Pope is seen dancing on 12th Street outside the club shortly before 1 a.m. As he approached the sidewalk, a bouncer walked up to Pope and punched him in the face, instantly dropping Pope to the ground. The six-minute video was condensed by FOX29, which reported Pope remained unconscious on the street for a minute. The bouncers then moved Pope onto the sidewalk, where a small group began to form around him before EMS arrived. (Warning: The video below contains graphic violence).

Police said Pope was not responsive when medics got to the scene. CPR was administered before Pope was taken to the hospital.

Tabu Lounge said in an email that the bouncer who punched Pope was not an employee of the bar and that the incident did not happen on the nightclub's property, though Pope had been drinking there prior to the incident. It was not clear which third-party service the bar contracts for security.

"When the unconscious individual was reported to our management, we immediately called 911 and sought assistance," a spokesperson for Tabu said. "We also alerted the Philadelphia Police Department of the incident in question and are cooperating with (PPD) in their investigation."

An official cause of Pope's death has not been released at this time.

Police said no arrests have been made and an investigation remains ongoing.