Eugene-Area Nightclub Bouncers Arrested for Assaulting Patron

Police arrested two bouncers at a downtown Eugene, Ore., nightclub over the weekend for using excessive force on a club patron last Thursday.

After an investigation, Eugene police arrested Michael Guggenmos, 28, and Jonathan Skinner, 32, on charges of assault relating to an incident Saturday morning at Rock N Rodeo club, 44 E. 7th Ave.

Management could not be reached at Rock N Rodeo, but other Eugene bars said bouncers are trained to prevent altercations among patrons.

A Eugene police officer drove by Rock N Rodeo and saw two bouncers striking a handcuffed man in front of the bar entrance Thursday evening.

The officer called dispatch for additional units and stopped the altercation.

After interviewing witnesses, police discovered the man was asked to leave for smoking a cigarette in the bar and for being too drunk.

The 26-year-old victim is not being identified, but police spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said the man is not a University of Oregon student.

Witnesses told police the bouncers handcuffed the man after spraying him with pepper spray. The bouncers struck the unidentified man with their fists and a baton, according to police. Witnesses told police the bouncers continued to strike and spray the man after he was in handcuffs.

The man sustained cuts on his head and declined to be taken to the hospital.

"Security guards can use force when necessary to take trespassers into custody, as long as the force is reasonable and necessary," police said in a press release.

Kletzok said club bouncers can legally carry handcuffs and other tools to restrain someone.

"Then again, you have to use them in a safe and responsible manner," she said.

Bartenders at other clubs in Eugene said employees are trained to avoid similar situations.

Three or four bouncers check patron identification at Diablo's club on Pearl Street on a typical night, said Val Serrano, a bartender at Diablo's.

"Basically, their main objective is to stop anything before it happens and keep an eye out," Serrano said.

When hiring a potential bouncer, Serrano said management checks references and discusses safety policies with the bouncer.

The bouncers at Diablo's don't carry any tools or weapons, Serrano said.

"All our bouncers are big," Serrano said. "That in itself is a deterrent."

At the campus-area bar Rennie's Landing, bar manager Dan Geyer said employees rotate schedules to check identification at the door.

"In our case, the main priority is to keep customers and bartenders safe," Geyer said.

In the event of a fight, Geyer said employees are trained to try and "talk down" the fight and ask the involved parties to leave. If the tactic doesn't work, bar managers call police.

The Rock N Rodeo incident will go to the district attorney's office and a grand jury could potentially review the case, Kletzok said.

(C) 2007 Oregon Daily Emerald via U-WIRE