Bouncers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bouncers

They're big, they're tough, they're bouncers. Target 5 takes you inside the Mid-South nightclub scene to see if security is up to snuff when the party gets out of control.

Between the heart pounding music, blinding light shows and hundreds of frenzied dancers, Memphis night clubs, like the Plush Club on Beale Street, walk a fine line between the intense and the chaotic, sometimes just one beer away from a brawl. Derrick Rease, Plush Club Asst. Manager said, "As soon as you get your more up tempo beats, that makes you just wanna jump all over the place. You have to snap into a reset mode. You know what I saying, just so you can get ready just in case anything happens." The club's security chief says his officers are carefully screened and get extra training to keeping those situations from getting out of hand. Aventa Smith, Plush Club Security said, "We're not into just beating on people, and trying to knock 'em in the head to subdue them."

A deadly New Year's Eve brawl in New Orleans shows the reason why. Police charged three bouncers at a Bourbon Street nightclub with negligent homicide in the death of a Georgia college student who allegedly attacked the club's manager. A spokesman for the club told us security staff are allowed to use physical force to remove violent customers. By the time police arrived, Jones laid lifeless on the concrete. Jones' family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the club. Jeff Goss, Club 152 owner said, "I can't imagine having someone on my staff who would do that. It's crazy." Rick Jarrath, Club 152 Security said, "We don't touch anybody unless somebody touches us, but then the best thing to do is get two or three around him and escort him to the door." But security trainer Dave West says most problems arise when an overzealous patron doesn't appreciate that escort. David West, Legion Protective Group said, "If someone doesn't have adequate training, they're going to have a natural tendency just to lean to school yard rules."

Right now the State of Tennessee only requires unarmed nightclub security guards sit through a four hour training course to get a license. But the course focuses mostly on legal issues not alternatives to beating up unruly partiers. Any additional training for security guards is up to a club owner to provide, which West says may have cost that New Orleans partier his life.

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