Sunday, October 30, 2005

Not My Usual Happy Post-Halloween Post

Last night I went out to Crockett Street for Halloween with my sister Terry, her husband Dan and some other friends. We started out at Antones for a Jimmy Buffet tribute band and at about midnight one of the guys and I went out on the street to see what was going on out there. The streets were packed and we watched a little of the costume contest then decided to check out what was going on in the Black Cat. (Here is Wang Chi's version of the night's events.)

We stood in line at the Black Cat for about thirty minutes and got inside at around 12:30 a.m. (I'm guessing). We walked around the club and then found some comfortable chairs near the bar where it wasn't so loud and we could sit and talk. By this point we had quit drinking except for one Shiner Bock and a Smirnoff Ice which we sipped on until closing time which was three hours later due to the time change. For the record (and there might be a need for an official record later), we did each do a test-tube shot from a shot girl not long after we sat down. My point is that, by closing time, we were stone cold sober.

At about 2:15 a.m. the bouncers started herding everyone out down the fire escapes near where we were sitting. Two of the bouncers were doing this in a normal bouncerly kind of way. The other asshole (we shall call him Paul because someone told my friend that is his name) started yelling at people, "Get the fuck out! I'm serious! This is bullshit." There were at least a hundred people going quietly and orderly down the stairs and another hundred or so people still in the club waiting to make their exit. This included my friend and I.

My friend recently fell off his roof during the after hurricane cleanup and cracked a few ribs and vertebrae. There was no point in us standing up and getting in line to go nowhere until the crowds thinned out. At this point Paul the bouncer started yelling, "Get out of the chairs! NOW! Everybody out." I restate the fact that there was nowhere to go. My friend and I stood up at that point and I said to him, "There's nowhere to go until all of those people get out." I'm not sure but I think the bouncer might have heard me. At this point, the bouncer pushed over a chair right in front of us which had a guy sitting in it and started screaming at the guy, "I mean it. GET OUT!". That guy was doing absolutely nothing. He wasn't even looking at the bouncer.

As we watched the poor guy get up off the floor, my friend said to the bouncer, "You're an asshole." The bouncer turned around (he was several inches taller and at least 50 pounds heavier than my friend) and said, "What did you say?" My friend said, "You're an asshole." At this point the bouncer pushed him backward over a chair. He fell straight back and was sort of spread out across two chairs.

All I could think of was his cracked ribs and vertebrae from a few weeks ago and I couldn't move. Another guy who we don't know helped him up and other (friendly) people began pushing us toward the door. I don't know what happened in there after we left and today I wish so badly that I had said something to the bouncer or had found a manager or one of my friends who is a waitress there. I was so afraid that my friend had re-hurt himself that all I could do was walk zombie-like with him down the fire escape with everyone else.

There is no excuse for assaulting innocent people for absolutely no reason. Of all the people we hang out with, my friend and I are by far the most low-key, mild mannered two of the bunch. If this is how this guy acts toward two of the possibly oldest and definitely most sober people in the club, I would hate to see how he treats the difficult customers. A bouncer's job is to keep order, not create more chaos. His acts of violence could have been the catalyst for a barroom brawl which, thank God, didn't occur.

My friend does not want to sue the club although he could. He is considering filing criminal charges and, at the very least, getting that asshole fired which would be in the best interest of the club as well as the general public.

What do you think?

I'm still really shaken up by this today and I've called my friend several times this morning to see how he's feeling but I keep getting his voicemail. If I hear from him, I'll let you guys know how he's doing and what his decision is regarding the bouncer.

Note 2:
I just received an e-mail from my friend which said, "I'm fine." I'm taking his word for it.


Dave Knechel said...

I would seriously consider some course of action. Bouncers shouldn't physically touch someone unless they are threatened, and from your story, he wasn't. At least, tell the club manager about it.

I hope your friend is all right!

Anonymous said...

I think he should press charges against him and talk to the owners about it.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I say file charges.

Anonymous said...

When I was up at 4:00 am this morning, Wang had a long version of what happened on his it's not there...I would say he is definitely going to press charges.

Zina said...

OH YEAH. Press charges. I know he's a lawyer...he chould know this. But, this guy is an ASSHOLE. and the first thing you learn in any service industry is you don't touch the customers. You shouldn't even touch your co-workers. He's got witnesses and I guarantee this isn't the first incident with this guy being a jerk. Trust me the manager needs to hear this AND especially the POLICE.

rws said...

At the very least, talk to the management. They need to know about this kind of thing -- and if they already know about this loose cannon and have done nothing about it, they need to know their inaction could have nasty consequences.

Ed said...

Never had a bouncer push me around but then, I am taller than most bouncers, little runts anyway.

I probably wouldn't press charges but I would definitely meet with the club owner and tell them how much I enjoy coming to their club, enjoy the atmosphere, and like bringing my friend their but don't enjoy being pushed down by a bouncer a few weeks after suffering spinal and rib injuries. I've found if the first three things out of your mouth are positive, the owner is more likely to take action when you say the negative.

Anonymous said...

Paul sounds like one pathetic waste of skin to me. I think he needs to have charges pressed against him and he needs to get fired.

Lorna said...

Glad to hear that Wang is OK---I've been hovering around his blog for the last little while hoping to hear he was bouncing back---oh, I'm going to leave that unfortunate pun there because it was an innocent one.

I'll bet you were pretty shaken yourself.

Laurie said...

Marinade Dave - I've seen bouncers get in people's faces but I've never seen them touch anyone and I've been in a LOT of bars. Wait, that didn't sound right.

Susan - I totally agree.

Popeye - I think he should file charges, too.

Dorothy - He hasn't made a decision, yet.

Zina - I definitely think he needs to talk to the manager and the police. I would love to know what happened after we left. There were other bouncers standing around there. The guy might already be fired for all we know.

RWS - That is absolutely true. The next time we hear of this guy doing anything to anyone, you can bet that my friend and I will be first in line as anti-character witnesses.

Ed - Excellent advice!

Stephen - Pathetic waste of skin...boy, you said it. He was a total loser.

Lorna - He was doing pretty good and he says he's fine but he sure didn't sound too good when he got out of my car. If he's okay after his tumble Saturday night, then I would say he's in pretty good shape.

As for me, I've been in a lot of bars (there I go again) and I've seen people I know get kicked out of a lot of bars. This was much more frightening because of my friend's (I guess the Wang is out of the bag) recent injuries. I was sure he had badly re-injured himself and I just kept thinking that thug was going to attack him again. It was awful.

Anonymous said...

They's never an excuse for rudeness. I won't tolerate it - many local trial lawyers are hungry for injury cases and this seems nearly open and shut to the tune of about a $25,000 settlement from the clubs insurer.

Reminds me of a nasty incident with a bouncer at the Lady Long Legs few years back, except in that case, the rude out-of-line bouncer had justice dealt to him on the spot in a most prejudiced and unforgettable manner. :)

Laurie said...

LG - Would Terry or Stuart or Bonnie be able to tell me your bouncer story? I'd love to hear it. :)