Bouncers have been accused of using unnecessary force against a student, as well as criticised for their handling of those involved in the incident following the Unity Bop at Warehouse nightclub on Saturday 23rd May.
A first year at Pembroke sustained significant facial injuries when he was removed from Warehouse, sparking concern over bouncers’ conduct.
Students present were also unhappy with the way the bouncers communicated with them and the police officers on the scene.
The Unity Bop ended the joint equalities week across Pembroke, Corpus Christi, Exeter and Trinity colleges.
The student told Cherwell, “I was on the dance floor with a friend when I jokingly pushed him. Thinking that I was trying to initiate a fight, the bouncer came from behind and put my hands behind my back to escort me out of the club. Even though my friend and I tried to tell him that he was mistaken, he didn’t listen and proceeded to throw me out in an extremely aggressive man- ner. He didn’t bother to wait for the doorman to fully open the door and rammed my face into the edge of door due to which I got a massive cut on my lip and broke half my front tooth.
“This is all extremely frustrating as all of this could’ve been avoided if the bouncer spared ten seconds to hear us out rather [than] chucking me out with unnecessary aggression and causing permanent damage to my face in the process.”
After explaining how the pushes exchanged were “obviously a joke”, the other fresher involved in the incident commented, “The bouncers were very unreasonable! The ones that took the student out said nothing and the others were acting as though there was nothing wrong, as- suming the problem was that he was ‘drunk’. Comparatively the police were very good, consulting everyone outside.”
The police report from the incident stated, “Enquiries were made and CCTV footage was viewed,” but that eventually “no offence was found to have taken place” and that it appeared the student concerned “had injured himself on a door”.
However Yew Loong, also a first-year at Pembroke and eye witness, fervently disagreed with this conclusion.
He told Cherwell, “I first saw a bouncer suddenly and violently grab the student by the side, restraining his arms and pulling him away from a group of other Pembroke students. He was not retaliating or protesting and merely asked what he was being pulled out for. The first bouncer did not give any justification for his actions and instead, another bouncer came and again violently grabbed him from the other side. I followed behind him, whilst calling out to the bouncers that he was not violent and that it was a misunderstanding.
“The bouncers took no heed and continued dragging him out of the club as quickly as possible whilst restraining him very tightly. Once they reached the door, they did not slow down or loosen their grip on him. He managed to get through the first door without injury, but upon reaching the second door, he was clearly not ready to go to through it. The bouncers’ action would almost certainly cause injury and using force that was not warranted especially considering that the student did not retaliate when the first bouncer grabbed him.”
Fresher Niamh Coote commented, “When I questioned one of the bouncers about the CCTV coverage of the area to assess the situation, another bouncer approached me and started asking me lots of quite rude questions such as whether the friend was my boyfriend because he couldn’t understand why I was ‘emotionally down’ about the situation.
“He accused me of ‘fabricating’ the situation and accused another friend from College of punching the guy in the face. The bouncer made me feel very uncomfortable with his questioning until eventually we decided to ‘agree to disagree’ and some friends and I walked home. We spoke to another police officer about the situation as we didn’t feel it had been handled well at all and we were not left with much confidence that our friend was being treated fairly.”
With regards to the bouncers’ dealings with the Police, Livvy Iller, a first-year Biochemist, told Cherwell, “Two police men walking by saw there had been an incident and walked over. Immediately the ‘head’ bouncer greeted one of them by name, shook his hand, and started chatting away about how they had shared a stint on the force together.
“It was a shameless and blatant attempt to win over the police so that the report would be marked as a classic incident of drunken youths getting out of hand and being rowdy, rather than an aggressive, unwarranted attack resulting in a serious injury by one of the bouncers.”
Bethanie Curry, one of the organisers of Unity week as JCR President at Corpus Christi, commented, “The behaviour of the security staff in this instance was completely unacceptable. There is never a good reason to treat club-goers in this way. I am especially sad since the event was meant to be celebrating the end of a week of solidarity and liberation: it was an event that was meant to be enjoyed by everyone. I am deeply saddened to hear otherwise”.
Thames Valley Police declined to comment on the allegations of a “shameless” attempt to win them over, stating, “We regret that Thames Valley Police is unable to respond to complaints and concerns regarding quality of service received by the police through the media.
“We take all complaints seriously and require complaints to be made through official channels so that the details and unique circumstances of the individual’s case can be taken into consideration and investigated by our Professional Standards Department.”
Warehouse also declined to comment.