2-Nov-2022 (Wed) Wherein our staff are assaulted

On the evening of Saturday, October 29, an overly-intoxicated woman was told she could not enter our premises. She repeatedly harassed staff members, screaming at and striking several of them and refusing all attempts at deescalation. After the third time in which she violently struck a staff member and it became apparent that she would not leave, she was restrained while the police were called.

During this time, another male in the crowd also physically assaulted a staff member, who was knocked unconscious. Staff members then restrained this person as well until police and paramedics arrived. Police were successful in dispersing the scene upon arrival. Paramedics treated our unconscious staff member. Staff members who were assaulted declined to press charges, SFPD chose not to arrest the assailants, and all parties left on their own.

You may have seen one of the attackers trying to provoke a social-media pile-on over this, and that's to be expected. But when someone says, "I was attacked because I was smoking a cigarette", ask yourself if there's more to the story and whether another narrative is more likely. Such as:

A patron is told, "Hey, you can't smoke in line", and responds by screaming and swearing at our staff. Because of that behavior, they are then told, "Ok, now you're not coming in, good night." Then, they decide to smack our staff in the face. And so on.

The first part of that story -- "you're acting like an asshole, so you can't come in" -- happens dozens of times a week. Almost all of the time it stops there. It's how we protect our patrons from those who don't know how to behave in public, because how you act outside is also how you're going to act inside. But nobody films that part.

Our staff are trained to de-escalate and disengage. Usually getting a difficult patron outside is all that it takes; after a little while, they calm down and go away. Everybody wins. It is repeatedly drilled into our staff that restraining a patron and calling the police is the last possible option, and must be avoided until all other options have been exhausted. In this case, despite repeated attempts, a patron would not stop physically attacking staff, and outside intervention was deemed necessary.

Nobody is comfortable watching a video of someone being restrained, especially when it involves a woman or black person or in this case both, but we stand by the staff members involved in this incident who did everything they could to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including staff, bystanders and the two people who assaulted them.


Update:

For clarity, it was the point at which she punched a female staff member in the face that the woman in question was restrained.

For those of you watching the video that is making the rounds, our staff member can be seen clearly keeping both hands on this woman's shoulder with the intention of minimizing movement. At no point is the arm across her compressing her neck or restricting her airflow. At no point was this woman unresponsive as she is now claiming. Our staff members had every reason to believe that if she was released, she would immediately become violent again, further escalating the incident.

While it is unfortunate that this occurred, and it was an awful experience for everyone involved, we support the decisions our staff had to make during a very difficult situation.

Update 2: Continued.

Update 3: We have surveillance footage.

11 Responses:

  1. David S says:
    28

    I have been invited outside a couple times in the past, and the staff were nothing short of fantastic.  They were doing their job, keeping the party and myself safe.  Sorry that one of the staff got seriously hurt this time.

  2. thielges says:
    9

    I feel bad for your staff who were assaulted.  An entertainment venue is a place for fun, not violence.   Self entitlement is a powerful drug that leads some people to behave irrationally.  Alcohol just amplifies this effect.  Sounds like the original perp had turned it up to eleven.  Probably rewarded with a premium hangover.  

  3. DEG says:
    1

    Tell us again why you want to do this?

    • dorukayhan says:
      2

      What the fuck else do you suggest they should've done?

      • jwz says:
        26

        Pretty sure what they meant was, "Running a nightclub sounds so rewarding and fun."

        • Eric TF Bat says:
          7

          I guess you're just like all of us.  Every morning you wake up, you look at your life and you ask yourself, "is this better than selling up, leaving everyone I know and becoming a goose farmer in Burkina Faso?"  You weigh up all the factors, you consider the repercussions, and then you get out of bed and make the coffee.

          Well, that's how it is for me, except without the coffee in my case.

          No goose today.  Maybe goose tomorrow.

  4. David Kaye says:
    2

    I'm now living in the city of Fremont having moved away from San Francisco two years ago. I think karaoke two nights a week at a Hell's Angels biker bar. What I find interesting is that there are never any altercations there. The people respect each other and hug each other a lot. I sing girl group songs about boys and parties and nobody even bats an eye about it. Has it really come down the Fremont is more civilized in San Francisco?

    • MrEricSir says:
      1

      Well there aren't many altercations at DNA Lounge either, hence this making the news. And comparing the rate of police incidents at a small karaoke bar vs. a nightclub with the capacity for several hundred people completely disregards the per capita rate of altercations.

    • Starla says:
      2

      Sir. Are you seriously asking why there are no altercations at an HA ran bar in Fremont? The answer is BECAUSE it’s an HA bar in Fremont. Like, who would start shit in that place? Someone who only had weeks to live and said to hell with it?? Like, those are real Hells Angels, my guy. I’m really just teasing, but, c’mon. This is apples and hand grenades.

  5. Gord says:
    4

    Jamie, I'd like to thank you for publishing these sorts of things.  In the past I've thought: "Hey, I've got a pretty good pile.  I could retire and open a Bar..."  Your posts give an unvarnished view inside the joy-filled world of running an entertainment / drinking establishment. Solidly moving that daydream into the "Nope!" category.

    • Line Noise says:

      Back in my 20s I had a dream of opening a Viking themed nightclub called The Halls Of Asgard (This was decades before any Thor movies came out and Vikings became cool. It was also the name of the first dial-up BBS that I ran.). I had it all figured out and even selected a derelict building that I would buy and renovate to become the club.

      Thankfully I was too dumb and poor to actually do anything about it and ended up sticking with a career in IT. I'm sure if I'd been in a position to actually make it happen I'd be a lot poorer today but probably a lot more street smart!

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