AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission could possibly suspend or revoke the liquor license of a Downtown Austin bar where an employee was arrested for assaulting a customer. The victim had to undergo emergency brain surgery and is still recovering two months later. He spoke with FOX 7 Thursday.
When we first aired photos of Joey O'Hare in November, he was in a hospital bed. His head was shaved and covered in staples from undergoing an emergency brain surgery and a separate procedure to repair fractures in his forehead.
Joey's injuries are now less noticeable as he deals with internal issues including headaches, blurry vision and post-traumatic stress from what happened to him.
"God has definitely blessed me in this recovery and as bad as it's been I'm grateful. This could've been worse and I might not be here today," said O'Hare.
On November 16th, O'Hare was at the Kung Fu Saloon in Downtown Austin. According to an arrest affidavit O'hare was closing out his tab when an employee--24-year-old Robert Camillone came up from behind and put him in a choke hold. Police say Camillone then carried O'Hare, who appeared unconscious, outside and dropped him on his face.
"I remember being with my friends, you know, having a good time and the next thing I know I'm waking up in the hospital being told I suffered a brain injury and just got out of a 15 hour surgery," said O'Hare.
Police charged Camillone with aggravated assault.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has also opened an investigation.
Bars are required to report any so called "breach of peace." the agency will look to see if Kung Fu Saloon followed that order. Investigators will then determine if employees handled the matter responsibly--for instance, by calling 9-1-1 to help O'Hare.
Attorney Jason McMinn expects investigators to find clear violations.
"The bar did nothing to help him. The bar tried to prevent him from being helped that evening from what I know," said McMinn.
FOX 7 reached out to Kung Fu Saloon for comment Thursday morning. The public relations company has not responded.
O'Hare, who is now home with his family in El Paso, unable to work or drive, says he hopes TABC will conduct a thorough investigation.
"I don't think this should happen to anyone and I hope that it doesn't ever happen again in Austin or anywhere else. If this could be an example for future lessons, I hope they do stand firm and make the right decision because it's not worth people being affected this way," said O'Hare.
Kung Fu Saloon was fined $600 dollars by TABC for a violation in 2012. The bar has been investigated for serving to an intoxicated person twice since August of 2014. If that happens a third time during the next 12 months, a punishment will be issued.
The TABC likely won't make a decision on this latest case until the trial for the assault charge is over.