A disgruntled former employee of Ten was arrested outside the popular gay bar and restaurant on Monday, a day after he allegedly assaulted the bar's owner.
Shane Michael Sleeper, 28, was arrested about 8:30 p.m. outside the Piedmont Avenue business and charged with battery substantial physical harm, a misdemeanor. He was later released from the Fulton County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
When Sleeper was arrested on Monday, he was carrying a sign that said, “I was assaulted by owner of Ten” on one side, and “What's love to you?” on the other. He had returned to the business a day after a confrontation with Ten owner James Nelson and Clint Billingsley, the bar's co-owner and general manager. On Sunday, Sleeper allegedly punched Nelson in the face after repeatedly being asked to leave the property, according to an Atlanta police report. Sleeper fled before police arrived. Nelson received several stitches after he was hit.
“After I told Shane I would call the police, he reared back and punched me in the mouth. He attacked Clint and Clint defended himself,” Nelson said.
Nelson told Project Q that he fired Sleeper, a part-time bartender, in February, and that ever since, Sleeper has harassed former co-workers and patrons. Nelson said he sought a temporary restraining order against Sleeper but that it was never issued.
“We were trying to get him off the property, and he wouldn't budge,” Nelson said. “He is just wreaking havoc on everyone in Midtown.”
On Sunday, Nelson and Billingsley told police that Sleeper was not allowed on the property after he allegedly vandalized it. When Sleeper was spotted at Zocalo, which sits next to Ten and shares a parking lot, Billingsley explained the situation to a manager at the restaurant and asked that Sleeper be told to leave.
Sleeper flipped off Billingsley as he left, and in an interview with Project Q, said he also yelled a gay slur at him.
“Every time I walk past them thy taunt me,” Sleeper said. “I am not the instigator here. I said, 'Fuck you faggot.' There is a difference between being gay and being a faggot and a faggot is someone who continues to stand for disrespect.”
Nelson told police that Sleeper returned about 8 p.m., and that's when he allegedly assaulted Nelson.
“He came on the property and assaulted me, returned on Monday and threatened me again,” Nelson said. “He has harassed a lot of people.”
'I clash with this city'
On Monday, Sleeper filed his own report with Atlanta police. He alleges that after he yelled at Billingsley on Sunday, he was chased down and assaulted, and suffered black eyes and a damaged phone. He told police that he didn't feel safe in the area and returned home instead of immediately filing a report. Sleeper lives on Piedmont about 1.5 miles from Ten.
Sleeper told Project Q that he also waited overnight to file a report so that officers wouldn't see him as “the drunk one that was causing trouble.” Sleeper would not say whether he hit Nelson but that if he did, “there is a difference when someone's antagonizing you.”
Sleeper, who lived in Los Angeles before moving to Atlanta in 2014, is on probation from an arrest more than two years ago in his hometown of Kansas City. After his termination from Ten, Sleeper said he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that he was fired after rejecting the sexual advances of a supervisor. Nelson said Sleeper was the one making sexual advances through sexting and sending partially nude photos of himself. He was fired after he allegedly smoked marijuana at the bar during a night out with friends, Nelson said.
“Then the insanity began,” Nelson said.
An EEOC spokesperson said the agency can't comment on whether Sleeper filed a complaint or its status.
On Tuesday, Sleeper told Project Q that the stress of the incident has him considering admitting himself to a hospital for psychological help.
“I am not a perfect individual but it really is a lot to deal with from a psychological perspective,” Sleeper said.
Sleeper said he returned to the bar on Monday, armed with the sign, to defend himself. He said he also sought a restraining order against Nelson and Billingsley but that it was denied on Monday.
“I am being made to be the not normal one because I am standing up for myself,” Sleeper said. “I pretty much got hated by all the staff at Ten the moment I got there because I was the new hot guy in town. There is so much into this, it is kind of ridiculous.”
“Atlanta is not used to honesty and that is why I clash with this city,” Sleeper added.