11:30- I head down to the bar to see the band and meet some friends. A
typical Saturday night.
The bar is crowded. There’s a 20 something guy. He’s drunk.
He stands beside another guy at the bar who accuses him of spitting in his drink.
The bouncer approaches the drunk kid. Accusing. The kid is slow to move.
In the 5 metres to the door the bouncer shoves him; the kid protests: he wants to speak to his friends, make some kind of plan. When they get outside onto the concrete steps of the bar the bouncer, cursing, gives him a big shove. The kid almost falls to the concrete, but gets his balance – somehow – turns around and gives the bouncer a punch in the mouth. The Bouncer starts pounding on the kid. Ten metres down the street from the bar he’s still shaking, punching and pushing the kid. Again the kid, drunk, turns and tries in vain to defend himself. The bouncer runs toward him and shoves as hard. The kid falls backward, crumbling to the street.
But the kid’s OK and struggles to his feet. No blood. No damage. A crowd gathers. People, like me, trying not to get physically involved but calling on the bouncer to just leave the kid alone. Eventually, the bouncer retreats.
Then the inevitable. The kid, drunk, alone, comes back to the bar door.
There’s no talking. The bouncer runs at him. Smashes him through the door and onto the street. Once he’s on the kid on the sidewalk he grabs him by the hair and holds him to ground.
It’s only now, after the kid called out in the doorway, that his friends come to his side in the rain. The bouncer is twisting the kid’s face into the dirty sidewalk. The kid tries to cover his face with his hands. The last resort of human defence. He covers his eyes. One of his friends, a girl in her twenties, begs the bouncer to stop. “He’s not resisting” she rightly cries. She get’s too close. He shoves her hard up against the parked car.
“The cops are on their way!”
But it’s another five minutes.
The police arrive. He starts to cuff the kid before any words are even spoken. He puts the kid in the police car. The kid’s friends’ frustration escalates to shrill levels at the uncommunicative officer.
That’s Saturday night in Halifax.
Luckily, no one is bleeding or going to hospital or jail. This story wouldn’t normally be news. But everyone knows this scene.
The violence is getting worse. The police and the bouncers should be ambassadors for the city. They’re not. They’re given leaway for violence that would not be accepted in any other area of civil society. They are paid to set the tone on our streets.
It’s not working.
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