Mercyhurst’s Carson Briere banned from bar for wheelchair incident
The son of former NHL player and interim Flyers GM Daniel Briere has been banned from the bar where he was accused of pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down the stairs.
Surveillance video at Sullivan’s Pub and Eatery in Erie, Pennsylvania, shows Mercyhurst University men’s hockey center Carson Briere sitting in the wheelchair before pushing it down the stairs and exiting the area on March 11.
The wheelchair belongs to a disabled person, Sydney Benes, who is a double amputee.
Nathaniel Sanders, the security manager at Sullivan’s Pub, organized a GoFundMe to help Benes get a new chair.
Sanders told TMZ that he is prepared to get law enforcement involved if necessary, should the younger Briere enter Sullivan’s following the incident.
The surveillance footage — which has over 13 million views — was shared to Twitter Tuesday by user Julia Zukowski (@juliazukowski), who accused the younger Briere of pushing the wheelchair down the stairs.
Mercyhurst University, located in Pennsylvania, called the surveillance video “disturbing” — and told the Daily Mail that an investigation into the incident was being taken over by the Erie Police Department.
On Wednesday, the school’s athletic department said Briere, as well as two other student-athletes in the video, were placed on interim suspension from their respective teams.
Benes filed a police report on Wednesday morning for the damages to her chair, Sanders said on the GoFundMe page without going into detail.
“I am deeply sorry for my behavior on Saturday,” Briere, a junior at Mercyhurst, said in a statement. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
At the time of the incident, Benes was using the bathroom, according to Zukowski and Sanders — who said, “I personally physically carry her down the stairs any time she has to use the restroom.”
“Sullivans is a bar that was built before ADA compliances were enacted and hence grandfathered in and the reason that the restrooms are located at the bottom of the stairs,” Sanders continued. “This is the reason that the chair was parked at the stop of the stairs.”
Benes took to Twitter on Wednesday to identify herself, and included a photo of her and Sanders standing at the top of the stairs at Sullivans, where the incident occurred.
“I swear I really don’t wanna keep a cent of the donated money, I’d much rather give it to those who need it,” she said, before later adding she’ll keep enough to repair her wheelchair.
In a separate tweet she said she does not blame the bar, and that security made Briere apologize before they kicked him out.
She also claimed Briere was “insincere” in his apology and he even asked the bouncer: “Do I still have to go?” after apologizing.
In response to someone that suggested they situation should’ve been handled privately, Benes wrote: “They’ve shown their true colors. Those being that they’re entitled, spoiled, ignorant, douchecanoes.
“I don’t wanna ruin their lives but they’ve clearly only gotten a slap on the wrist their whole lives. They need to learn their behavior is completely unacceptable.”
The GoFundMe has reached over its goal of $1500.
“I would like to clarify that I’m using the GoFundMe donations to help fix my chair but all the rest is going to the disabled community and to people who really need the help,” Benes wrote in a Tweet.
Carson totaled five goals and eight assists in 30 games for the Lakers in the 2022-23 season.
In 2019, Briere was dismissed from the men’s hockey team at Arizona State as a freshman for what the program said was a violation of team rules.
The elder Briere — who played 17 seasons in the NHL, including six with the Flyers and a Stanley Cup appearance with Philadelphia in 2010 — was named interim general manager of the team on Friday.
In a statement, he said his son’s actions were “inexcusable” and “run completely counter to our family’s values of treating people with respect.”