A COVENTRY nightclub bouncer was caught on video snatching a phone off a member of the public who was recording a fracas involving his security team – and the footage was later posted on the internet.
The Kasbah has accepted following questions from the Coventry Observer that it “does not condone” grabbing people’s phones.
The man filming was Matt Spencer, a London-based journalist, who was on a night out with friends back home when he witnessed a reveller – from a group he did not know – being restrained by security at the Kasbah, Hillfields, on Saturday night (July 29).
Mr Spencer told us: “I saw a young man being beaten on the ground by security men. We were leaving the club anyway. I walked out and saw this on the ramp outside the club.
“I wanted it to stop. I recorded it as evidence – it’s what I do as a journalist. Police later refused to take a report from me, saying they were understaffed.”
The video then clearly shows one of the security guards snatching Mr Spencer’s phone off him.
A voice can then be heard as the security man is seen taking the phone towards his colleagues, saying: “How do you delete? Delete.”
Mr Spencer says his phone was eventually handed back to him with the video deleted. But the back-up version on his i-phone remained, enabling him to post it on Twitter – @ThatMattSpencer.
He is heard saying to the security man: “Excuse me Sir, I’ve just videoed that.. I just saw you kick him.”
A voice replies, “So what?”
The club says it is unclear what those words referred to amid the crowd, and denied claims the ‘attacked’ man was kicked in the face while being restrained.
The video then shows the man being taken inside the club in front of a watching crowd, with some shouting allegations of brutality.
Questioned by the Coventry Observer, the Kasbah said in a statement a phone had previously been used as a weapon against their security – by a group which they had believed Mr Spencer to be among.
Mr Spencer said, as supported by evidence from others, his was a peaceful group including professional people, completely unconnected with the ‘attacked’ individual or any group previously ‘evicted’ from the club.
We asked the club whether it accepted such actions or any policy of snatching phones and apparently seeking to delete potential evidence – was unacceptable, regardless of any provocation, and what the club was going to do about it.
KASBAH’S RESPONSE TO US
The club’s management said in a statement: “Grabbing someone’s phone is not something management would advocate or condone. However before we all condemn the doorman’s actions we have to consider the context in which the phone was taken.
“This doorman along with his colleagues had endured over 20 minutes of verbal abuse and threats from a group of individuals. As far as reviewing our policy is concerned this is something that we will consider going forward.”
The club said four or five people had to be ejected, ‘culminating in an attempt by some of them attempting to steal from behind a bar’.
It continued: “When outside the premises, this group would not move away from the front door but instead began hurling threats and verbal abuse at the doorstaff.
“On two occasions objects were thrown by members of this group, striking at customers and staff. At this point the manager of the club began to make a video of a male from the group who was particularly aggressive and abusive towards the doormen.
“Moments after this the same male threw his phone at the doormen and this time it struck one of them on the face, narrowly missing his eye. Later on it was assessed at A&E that the doorman had suffered a suspected fractured eye socket.
“In response to this the doormen seized the male who had thrown the i-phone and restrained him and took him and held him at the club’s reception area and phoned the police for assistance.
“The video also shows the doorman who had been struck by the missile thrown at him seizing the phone being used by Matt Spencer.
“The reason for this is clear and straight forward as he explained, ‘This group was out of control. They were throwing at us whatever they had in their hands. Whether its an i-phone or rock doesn’t matter, its being used as a weapon. I took it off this guy because I thought he would throw it at us again’.
“The doorman does not deny he tried to delete the footage and again his motive is clear. He explains, ‘I didn’t want to be the source of amusement on the internet as the doorman at the Kasbah who had his face smashed by an i-phone.’
“After the police arrived and viewed the footage, they asked the group to move on or they would be arrested.”
Mr Spencer says he too had phoned the police. He added he did not see what happened previously, but that he did witness the man who was being ‘attacked’ throw his phone after being restrained, which ‘hit a security guard on the leg’.