Kevin Joseph, who has gained fame as the drag performer Flotilla DeBarge, was arrested Monday after a fight in a West Village bar that at least one witness said he did not start.
Flotilla DeBarge Held in Assault
Noted drag performer arrested after pre-dawn mêlée with two at West Village club
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
Noted drag performer Flotilla DeBarge was arrested on September 25 after allegedly assaulting two people with a high-heeled shoe at Apt, a West Village club.
“The first thing I saw was this guy, this straight guy putting his hand on Flo’s face and pushing it,” said a man who witnessed the altercation and asked that his name not be used.
“Then next thing I saw was they were fighting... They fell on the floor with the guy on top of Flotilla and then they were separated. Then they were fighting again.”
The witness estimated that the fight, which occurred just before 4:00 am, lasted roughly two minutes. It involved DeBarge, whose real name is Kevin Joseph, a 28-year-old white male, and a 23-year-old female, according to a police report that was read to Gay City News. The man and the woman were not identified in the police report.
DeBarge, 49, allegedly used a high-heeled shoe to beat both the man and the woman. Police vouchered a pair of black high-heel shoes as evidence in the case.
The witness said that at moments during the fight it appeared that both the man and the woman were striking DeBarge. The fight started when either the man or the woman took DeBarge’s seat, according to the police report. The witness, who said that the loud music in the club prevented him from hearing what was said, thought the dispute began after either the man or the woman jostled DeBarge.
“Apparently they bumped into Flo,” the witness said. “I don’t know what Flo said back to them... I saw this guy put his hand on Flotilla’s head and they started having this knock down, drag out fight. It was definitely my estimation that [DeBarge] did not start the fight.”
The man and the woman, who were treated at a nearby hospital for wounds that required stitches, were not charged in the case.
The witness, who said the man and the woman appeared to be drunk, told Gay City News that he is an acquaintance of DeBarge and had left a cell phone message for the performer after seeing the fight to offer help in the case. As of press time, the witness had not heard back from DeBarge.
DeBarge was arraigned on September 25 at 10:00 pm and charged with four counts of assault in the second degree, a felony. Among its provisions, second-degree assault requires that the person intend to injure another person “by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.”
Gay City News visited the location that police said DeBarge gave them for a home address, but it houses two offices and the newspaper could not reach DeBarge for comment.
According to the city corrections department inmate locator service, DeBarge was still in custody on September 27 pending posting of a $1,500 bond.