Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why I REALLY Should Have Known Better...

Caring doesn't pay. Truly, it doesn't!

We had a fight inside the bar tonight, and no sooner had we separated the two warring parties (literally entwined in a lover's embrace with each other) than we had another idiot running in from nowhere and starting to punch one of the people we'd just separated.

Luckily there were enough of us to bundle everyone out. Our flying kickboxer was putting up a bit of a struggle, and I thought it possible that the guy he had punched would want to press charges. So I tried to handcuff Flying Kickboxer. To prevent the prosecution of the case being hindered by his disappearance, to ascertain his details, to prevent him causing further injury to other people and to prevent injury to himself. And because it looks better and is safer than having two or three door staff jumping on him and dragging him out. These are of course all pretexts - I can't just cuff someone willy nilly and theoretically not for a standard physical removal.

The head doorman had one arm of Flying Kickboxer, who was putting up a bit of a struggle. So the handcuff was inadvertendly and unintentionally used as leverage. And damn effective leverage might I say! When you have thick steel nickel grating against a particularly sensitive part of the wrist, you do as you're told. He went out, followed by another who was being dragged out by the legs, and another who went out semi-upright.

But since, for some, a night out is NEVER complete without a good old-fashioned punch up, they started on each other in the street. Some random bitch and her man became involved and the fight continued on the other side of the street. The woman was incredibly angry and was resisting all physical and verbal efforts to hold her back, to get at one of the party from the fight inside.

Synapses in my brain misfired. I wasn't thinking straight and did not consider my own personal safety. I went against years of training and confrontational experience, and actually gave a damn that this hysterical woman could actually cause a fair bit of damage to the object upon which she had fixated her rage. No idea why I did this - normally I really couldn't care less, beyond my limited legal obligation of duty of care (which is conveniently hazy), whether people I don't know live, die or suffer on the street. Can't explain or justify this lapse in thought or judgement. But I know I'll have this apathy strongly reinforced into the hereafter.

So I went to the other side of the road and tried to separate the parties. The woman started pushing, shoving and scratching me. Then she made a full-blown lunge at the guy positioned behind me, who was involved in the bar fight. I spun round and bear-hugged her as she went past, dragging her off her trajectory. Next I felt an arm around my neck trying to choke me. I thought it was a colleague who had mistaken me for a patron -after all I was wearing a dark jacket and trousers. I shouted I was security and heard an unfamiliar voice attached to the arm. I let go of the woman and the guy let go of me. Looking around I saw there were no colleagues - I'd involved myself in something I should not have done and that could have ended with more serious consequences for me.

Initially I wanted to press charges and insisted on doing so. Police asked me to view CCTV if avaialble. There wasn't. The manager pointed out the female involved, against whom I also wanted charges laid, was a good customer. I told him I didn't give a damn if she spent a million dollars a night in there. Police said it would be unlikely to go anywhere. Which I knew, but still wanted to see how far I could go with it. In the end I dropped it. Had there been CCTV I would have pressed ahead.

There's a school of thought that door staff shouldn't press charges when assaulted, minor or not. I think that's an incredibly outdated and naive view by people who should know better. We are not paid to be assaulted. We are not paid to be punching bags. We are paid to monitor and supervise patron access and behaviour in the venue, and intervene in situations as required. Nowhere in our job description does it say that sustaining injury without recourse is a necessary requirement. Therefore those who assault me in the course of my duty, without provocation or justification, should be dealt with accordingly.

So the things I learnt from this encounter

1. Never leave the door. No matter what. Unless I know one of the people involved, I will not intervene.
2. Don't care. Not your problem. Do your minimum legal obligation and that's it.
3. Check your surroundings - a potent refresher of something drilled into me for ages that lapsed due to inactivity.

So if you're involved in any sort of incident on the street and I'm on the door and I don't know you - stiff shit. If it's not immediately outside the door, it's not my problem. I won't get involved. I come first. Sorry but that's the way it is.


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