Attorney for victim assaulted outside W. Ashley pool hall calls for additional arrests

Updated: Aug. 13, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An attorney representing a man who was assaulted outside a West Ashley bar and pool hall on Aug. 5 called on Charleston Police to make additional arrests Thursday morning.

Attorney Jerod Frazier, who represents Philip Rock, said there was a delay in calling an ambulance and alleged some who witnessed it purposely did not call for help in the moments after the Aug. 5 incident outside the Players Place Billiards and Sports Pub in the 1900 block of Ashley River Road.

Frazier said Rock, whom he called “a very conscientious man,” had a dash camera in his vehicle which recorded the assault.

“His wife went to go check the camera and she was appalled and surprised at what she saw,” Frazier said. “She saw a man chase him out of the bar called his name, and then without warning, without provocation, without any prior encounter strike him hard in the face, knocking him to the ground where he stuck his head on the vehicle and the sidewalk."

Frazier said Rock spent six days in the hospital because of his injuries, which Frazier said were “serious and very life-threatening.”

“Mr. Rock has a long road to recovery,” Frazier said.

Frazier also claimed people can be heard in a video saying, “Go home, Chris,” to the alleged assailant right after the attack happened.

“He was aided and abetted and allowed to escape apprehension,” Frazier said.

On Wednesday, Charleston Police said Christopher Lee White, 35, was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Frazier also accused bar owners and operators of knowing what had happened but failing to report it to police.

“He is extremely hurt, and let down that a place he has frequented so often that knew him so well would treat him so poorly,” Frazier said. “We want answers. We want those who helped him, aided and abetted after the fact to escape this very serious felonious assault that was committed against my client to be apprehended and brought the charges, brought to justice as well.”

But Players Place owner Gilbert Smith released a statement Thursday:

“We have done all we can and are continuing to cooperate with police. Phillip Rock is a regular customer. Our hearts go out to him and his family.”

Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said the management of Players Place Billiards and Sports Pub was very cooperative and instrumental in the investigation.

The victim’s mother, the Rev. Martha Rock, thanked the community for their prayers and well-wishes.

“We have been on an emotional roller coaster since last Wednesday,” she said, asking for continued prayers. She called for the media and those on social media to speak the truth.

“This was clearly not a conflict that came about between my son and this gentleman,” she said. “It was not an incident. It is clearly a crime. And we want justice for this crime.”

A supplemental incident report released Thursday by Charleston Police describes an interview between officers and the victim at the hospital.

Rock told police he "went to the bar and ended up leaving in an ambulance."

He said EMS personnel told him he fell and was knocked unconscious, but he believed there was no way that he fell and said he felt "in no way intoxicated upon leaving the bar."

Rock told police of the dash cam in his vehicle and said the camera showed him being followed by a man who police say is observed on the video "punching Rock from behind in the left side of his face, causing Rock to fall onto the ground and [get] knocked out."

"According to Rock, the video then depicts several other people who were outside at the time motioning for the suspect to run away," the report states.

Rock said he had not yet watched the footage but that his wife would give it to police.

Rock told police he arrived at the bar at approximately 7 p.m. and met two of his best friends. Those two friends, he said, left the bar about 30 minutes before he did.

Rock said he had no issues or arguments with anybody in the bar and did not beat anyone in billiards, did not win any money and did not even play billiards that evening, the report states.

Rock told police he has been to the business enough times so that the bartenders know him, but he does not consider himself a "regular."

The report also details a police interview with Rock's wife, who had watched the video footage. She said the footage showed him walk out of the bar towards his car followed by a man who said something to him before striking him once on the left side of his face.

She stated there were three to four other people who "approached the suspect and appear to tell him to leave the area before rendering aid to Rock," the report states.

The report states Rock told investigators he had two beers and a couple of shots of “Yaeger liquor,” but did not consider himself to be intoxicated as he was leaving.

Employees of the bar have not yet responded to a request for comment on the case.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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