Police investigating Cabana Pool Bar brawl between bouncers and partygoers
Rachael D'Amore, CP24.com
Published Monday, July 31, 2017 11:08AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 31, 2017 3:37PM EDT
A brawl that involved a physical confrontation between a bouncer and party goer is now being investigated by police.
Josh Gomes told CTV News Toronto that he was at Cabana Pool Bar on Polson Street Sunday when his friends got into an altercation with a group of bouncers.
Gomes said he decided to intervene when he saw a bouncer put one of his friends in a headlock.
“Now, I’ve been clubbing a lot and that’s a normal thing – if he’s getting kicked out, he’s getting kick out. It’s normal. But then I saw a bunch more bouncers hop in and start beating on him, punching him. That was too much,” Gomes said Monday.
At that point, Gomes threw a cup of water at one of the security guards.
“That’s when the commotion took a step in another direction,” he said.
“I looked away and the bouncer I threw water on unleashed.”
A CTV viewer sent in a video showing a violent brawl between patrons at Cabana Pool Bar and its security team on July 30, 2017.
The video shows the security guard, whose shirt is now wet, punch Gomes in his head.
It shows Gomes and the security guard stop and stare at each other for a moment before Gomes says something to him. This prompted the bouncer to lunge forward and punch Gomes again several times.
“I asked him, ‘What was that about?’ and he replied in a cocky manner, ‘What’re you going to do?’” Gomes said. “That’s when he continued.”
Gomes said he put his hands up in self-defense but said there “wasn’t much” he could do.
“I didn’t see it coming so everything was in a daze,” he said. “There were punches coming from a guy who’s a lot bigger than me. He’s supposed to be bouncing the place and yet I’m fighting him for no reason.”
Gomes’ friend, Alvaro Cuadra, told CTV News Toronto that the dispute started after a bouncer allegedly got aggressive with his girlfriend because she was smoking.
Cuadra confronted the bouncer about the exchange and a physical altercation ensued.
“He actually grabbed my girlfriend in a really aggressive manner and I approached him and said, ‘Don’t touch my girlfriend like that,’” he said.
“Once I did that, another bouncer came up from behind and punched me.”
Cuadra said he felt he had no choice but to defend himself and “interchanged punches” with the bouncers.
It was then that Cuadra said one bouncer grabbed him by the neck and put him in a headlock.
At least four bouncers were involved in the commotion, he said.
“They kept beating me. That was at least another four minutes. I just kept protecting myself and my girlfriend was near me screaming for them to stop, but they didn’t stop,” he said.
Cuadra said that while he was on the ground, he could hear several people encouraging one another to kick him in the face.
The videotape seen by CTV News Toronto does not show the part that Cuadra describes. A second video circulating on social media does appear to show Cuadra involved in a fight with multiple bouncers near the docks adjacent to the pool bar.
From there, Cudra claims that he was dragged to the back of the club, allegedly out of the sight of security cameras, where bouncers continued to beat him.
The woman who recorded the ordeal but wished to remain anonymous told CTV News Toronto that Gomes “didn’t have anything to do with” the clash that precipitated the exchange with bouncers.
Gomes said he reported the incident to police today.
The entertainment company responsible for Cabana Pool Bar, INK Entertainment, confirmed the issue is now in the hands of police and said they are looking at video which shows the entire altercation, including what caused the initial brawl between the two groups.
"Cabana takes incidents such as this one very seriously," the company said in a written statement provided to media. "We are cooperating with the Toronto Police Service so that they can understand the entire context of what took place, including the customer conduct that led to the altercation.
"Our priority is to ensure that our venue is a safe place for everyone, including staff and customers," the statement continued. "This was a very unfortunate incident."
The brawl left both Gomes and Cuadra under doctor’s orders to stay home from work for two days.
Gomes said he was spitting out blood all day Sunday.
Both men have bruises to their cheeks, foreheads and jaws.
Gomes said he believes the bar industry needs to change the way bouncers operate in establishments, adding that they aren’t “above the law” while working as security personnel.
“Honestly, I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else going forward. There’s nothing we can do now,” Gomes said.
“They should at least rectify the action of the bouncers,” Cuadra added.
“Do a clean-up. If your security is encouraging people to actually beat people up, that’s not good.”
Toronto police said they are looking into the incident, but it’s too early for them to say exactly what happened.
“The video itself, like most videos, only shows a snippet of the incident. It seems to show an assault that's taken place between a security guard and somebody else but of course that's only part of the investigation,” Const. Meaghan Gray told CTV News Toronto.