VIEWER DISCRETION: “American Idol” alum Haley Reinhart’s friend was choked so hard that his entire face was reddish-purple during an asphyxiation/strangulation maneuver that also caused Reinhart’s male friend to collapse to the floor, before Haley Reinhart was arrested for allegedly punching a bouncer.
In a violent cellphone video released to TMZ, a male friend of Haley Reinhart — being removed from an upper floor near a staircase of Lamplighter Tavern — is restrained by three large men in red shirts. The men appear to be security or bouncers. The three redshirts are positioned to the side and behind Reinhart’s friend, identified by his attorney as Alan Chislof, 30, of Wheeling. While the three redshirts are restraining Chislof’s arms and upper body, a fourth man with a purple Lamplighter Tavern shirt is seen with a grip on the front of Chislof’s neck, using a procedure that appears to be an attempt to block blood flow through Chislof’s carotid arteries.
The technique, known as a “carotid restraint” or a “sleeper hold” is a form of strangulation that compresses one or both carotid arteries responsible for critical blood flow to the brain. The technique, temporarily applied, can cause cerebral ischemia and a temporary hypoxic condition in brain tissue. A correctly applied carotid restraint/sleeper hold can cause unconsciousness in a few seconds, or can cause symptoms that will result in fear and submission of the victim. The technique, when done correctly, usually does not compress the airway, but when applied incorrectly, the technique can block the airway as well, and can even cause a potentially fatal fracture of the larynx or a fatal fracture of the hyoid bone of susceptible victims.
Haley Reinhart appears about 44 seconds into the video while the bouncers are struggling with her male friend Alan Chislof on the floor. The audio does not pick up any of the bouncers telling Chislof to stop resisting. Her alleged punch to another redshirt (a fifth bouncer) is not visible in the video. She is told to leave by the fifth bouncer. The bearded bouncer tells Rinehart to “get f*#!ing lost” and tells her you hit me in the face, and that “you’re lucky you’re not going to jail.” She complies, but is later seen in handcuffs with Palatine police outside the tavern.
Palatine police arrive about two minutes into the video, but it is not confirmed to be the elapsed time because it appears there are two video edits during the two minutes. Police handcuff Chislof while he is facedown on the upper floor at the top of the staircase. Chislof is conscious and moving his head, and is not resisting the police.
A few seconds later, a woman asks the man in the purple shirt, who had applied the apparent carotid restraint, “Who are you?” The man replies, “the Security.”
The video ends with a scene that cuts to Haley Reinhart being handcuffed by a female Palatine police officer, and another woman telling her she will call her parents.
Chislof’s attorney said the redshirts were Lamplighter bouncers.
Chislof’s attorney, Mark A. Brown, a partner with Lane & Lane LLC in Chicago said that Chislof suffered a concussion and had a cut above his left eye that required stitches. He added that Chislof still had broken blood vessels in his eyes.
Broken blood vessels in the eyes are consistent with petechial hemorrhaging in the eyes, which is a known indication in criminal cases involving attempted strangulation and homicidal strangulation. Petechial hemorrhages occur when blood leaks from the capillaries in the eyes. During strangulation, capillaries can rupture due to increased pressure on the veins in the head when the airway and veins are obstructed, and while the victim struggles to exchange air.
Brown also said Chisolf had black and blue marks all over his face, and has been spitting up blood. Brown said Chisolf’s face was mangled after the incident.
Palatine firefighter/paramedics had also responded to the scene, and Chisolf, a muscular 5’7″, was treated in the Northwest Community Hospital emergency room, but was not admitted to the hospital.
Since the incident, Chislof, who is a personal trainer and salesman at an Evanston gym, has been unable to work, his attorney reports.
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Only Reinhart was arrested. She was charged with battery after a member of the security staff said she struck him in the head with her fist.
Lamplighter staff and Palatine police say the disturbance started after Reinhart and her friends flipped over a table, but Chislof said there was no table involved, according to attorney Brown.
Chislof’s account is that Reinhart touched a rope that was between the tables and the dance floor, which angered the bouncers. Chislof said the bouncers grabbed her arm aggressively, and that he stepped in and said, “Hey, this is a girl” … and he said he put up his hand like, whoa, whoa, whoa. The bouncer then called other bouncers over, according to attorney Brown.
The confrontation escalated, and they were asked to leave the bar, police said.
Reinhart’s attorney Dina LaPolt adamantly denies the singer struck anyone, saying Reinhart was the one assaulted. Reinhart lives in Encino, California. Entertainment lawyer, Dina LaPolt with a law office in West Hollywood, denied the allegations that led to Reinhart’s battery charge. “Without provocation, Haley Reinhart was assaulted by bouncers at the Lamplighter Inn,” LaPolt said in a statement. “After forcefully removing Ms. Reinhart, they violently beat her friend, who sustained multiple injuries. We believe that she will be exonerated of all charges once the investigation is completed. We plan on taking legal action against all those who were involved in this unfortunate incident.”
Reinhart, age 26, who grew up in Wheeling and attended Wheeling High School, was in her hometown and Chicagoland visiting friends for the 4th of July holiday. She sang with “Gone Country” while the band performed Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at the Mount Prospect Lions Fest at Melas Park. She had also recently performed the pre-game national anthem at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles just before arriving in Chicagoland.
Haley Reinhart was a top three finalist on “American Idol” in Spring 2011.
The cellphone video acquired by TMZ.com is believed to have been taken by a bar patron at Lamplighter Tavern.
TMZ’s Harvey Levin comments on the cellphone video of bouncer restraint, and it’s intense scene at Lamplighter Tavern & Inn, in Palatine.