Thunderbird Lounge co-owner pleads guilty to assault; ex-girlfriend speaks out on abuse

Thunderbird Lounge co-owner pleads guilty to assault; ex-girlfriend speaks out on abuse

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Terms of Boyles’ release included prohibition of weapons possession, alcohol or drug consumption and contacting the victim.

Thunderbird Lounge issued a statement on Sept. 15 saying it was “reviewing the allegations” and that Boyles would be on indefinite leave in the meantime. 

“Thunderbird Lounge has always prided itself on being a friendly neighborhood bar and a safe space for its patrons, and will take appropriate measures to continue this tradition,” the statement read.  

Boyles has co-owned the popular ’70s-themed midtown bar since it opened in 2019.

A spokesperson representing Thunderbird Lounge said other owners likely would not comment because the bar was “not a part of the incident,” and then stopped responding to The Arizona Republic’s request for details on Boyles’ current and future involvement with the business.

Boyles pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 27. Sentencing records obtained by The Republic indicated that if Boyles completes a domestic violence counseling program, he will avoid five days of jail and 36 months of probation. 

Attorney Nancy Giles, who is representing Boyles, said in a written statement to The Republic on Dec. 17 that her client “accepted responsibility for his actions and is completing his court-ordered diversion program.”

“Since the incident, he has not been on the premises of the establishment he co-owns, nor made any material business-related decisions, and he is focused on moving forward,” Giles wrote.


Boyles’ ex-girlfriend ‘absolutely’ believes system failed her


Britney Tanner, Boyles’ former girlfriend, said the problems started long before his arrest.

Tanner, 32, said she met Boyles at the bar about two years ago, and the pair started dating a few weeks later. Tanner experienced both mental and physical abuse throughout the relationship, she said.

“It was a slow removal of my former self into this dead version of me, where I didn’t recognize myself and my friends didn’t either,” she told The Republic in mid-November.

Tanner said she was “very adamant” on pressing charges after the assault in September, telling The Republic she was hopeful he would not get a plea deal. She said she decided to speak publicly for the first time because she wants to spread awareness of systemic failures and empower abuse survivors.

She laments that as a first-time offender, Boyles could get the case dismissed if he successfully completes the diversion program.

“I guess you get a ‘get out of jail free’ card, your first one’s on us — it’s just not right,” Tanner said. “These are people’s lives. Women are losing their lives and even quality of life. I’m going to have this trauma forever and it’s changed the way my brain works, it’s changed my children. And all he has to do is take a few courses.”

Tanner said she “absolutely” believes the system failed her, along with other past and future victims of abuse. On top of that, she said the lounge’s co-owners were “complicit” in the situation and are “trying avidly to support him.”

But she feels the solutions rest in the community, which she said has the power to hold accountable abusers and those who protect them while supporting survivors through their healing.

“I know for a fact that if I didn’t have the community I had behind me, I wouldn’t have found my voice so fast again,” she said.

Tanner said she’s received countless messages of love and support since the assault. 

In November, she performed a song and shared her story with dozens of others at an event held by Phoenix Deserves Better, a local organization formed to support survivors of abuse.

Though it was scary, Tanner said it was worth it. 

“I knew that that was establishing the safe space, and if I could share and put that out there, then I made a welcome mat for any other abuse survivor to do the same,” she said. “It was empowering, it was nerve-wracking, but it was important, and I’m ultimately proud I did that.

“I just think that awareness is so important in creating the Phoenix that we deserve.”

Learn more about the author Richard E Shaw

Richard E Shaw is an American Author, Writer, Educator, Inventor and Entrepreneur

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