Ropers defends actions of bouncers in viral video

Ropers defends actions of bouncers in viral video
Video shows a Ropers bouncer elbowing the customer in the face as he was being removed. Source: Kyle Gardner.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A video showing a customer being hit in the face as he is being removed from a Hattiesburg nightclub is spreading on social media, with many saying the bouncers were out of line.

Kyle Gardner took the video at Ropers Rockin' Country on Friday night.  He said he decided to take out his cell phone and start filming when he saw the customer being dragged through the nightclub.

"Pretty much any bar you go to, you are going to see that at some point in the night, but never to the extent that you see here at Ropers," said Gardner.

In the video, you can see several bouncers holding down a man close to the door, when one of the bouncers starts elbowing the customer in the face. You can hear one of his coworkers telling him to stop in the short clip. The video has been viewed more than 47,000 times with more than 700 shares.

"You got two people holding his legs down. You've got another holding one arm. It's hard to see in the video, but you've actually got one in a choke hold while the other is on top of him throwing apparent elbows into the man's face," said Gardner.

Gardner said the customer was bleeding from the face when he was thrown out the door. Hattiesburg police responded to the incident and said the man was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Ropers responded to the video in a Facebook post on Saturday. Ropers management said the customer was breaking several rules and the bouncers are properly trained to handle these situations.

The post also says police were involved. However, none are seen in the video clip from inside the establishment.

The post was taken down Monday, but WDAM was able to take a photo before it was removed.

According to the Hattiesburg Police Department, officers responded to a disturbance in progress at the nightclub around 11 p.m. Friday. When officers arrived, they found a man passed out on the sidewalk. That man told police he was assaulted and thrown out of the bar by multiple security guards.

According to HPD, Ropers management said the victim was seen displaying gang related signs and harassing people on the dance floor and was asked to leave the premises. Management said the victim became combative with security and was taken to the ground in self-defense.

"My main thing was, they had control of him, brought him all the way to the door, and that's when he was taken down in the door," Gardner said. "You turn around, wait for the rest of them to come down, and then you get him pinned down."

On Facebook, Ropers management stated, "Police reviewed the video footage and agreed that the customer was at fault and there were no wrongdoings by any employee on the Ropers staff."

HPD spokesman Ryan Moore said the department was not confirming that officers didn't find any wrongdoing.

Moore said that because the crime is a misdemeanor charge, (simple assault), the victim has to press charges on the individuals involved to move the matter forward.

"If it were elevated, injury wise or to aggravated, or actually witnessed in person by an officer, then it would go differently," said Moore.

WDAM 7 reached out to Ropers management. Calls and messages have not been returned.

Gardner said this is not the first violent incident involving bouncers at Ropers that he has witnessed. Many commented on the Facebook video sharing similar experiences.