Verbal and even physical altercations in a bar setting are not completely uncommon. Many establishments employ bouncers as a way to maintain the peace and provide security in the event altercations arise. It is, of course, a bouncer's duty to protect individuals from themselves and others, but in order to successfully maintain the peace, these individuals must exercise control and good judgment. When these elements of security are absent, and negligent actions result in an individual's injury or death, victims and their loved ones may look to authorities for justice. Unfortunately, as one Denver family is finding out, the only justice they may find might be through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Denver's DA recently decided not to file criminal charges against a bouncer whose chokehold caused the death of a bar patron. Newly released video shows what looks like a typical bar altercation between a young Denver man and the bouncer. According to authorities, the bouncer seen in the video intervenes in an altercation between bar patrons and then was forced to subdue a young man by chokehold. The chokehold, which should not have been fatal, caused the death of the young man by asphyxiation due to blunt force trauma to the neck.
Although the bouncer has defended his actions by claiming self-defense, legal experts say in order for this defense to be used, the act in question must have been considered a reasonable use of force. After an investigation into the event, detectives supported charging the aggressive bouncer with criminally negligent homicide. Denver's DA did not charge the bouncer with criminally negligent homicide due to the difficulty in meeting the burden of proof necessary to support the criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
The family members of the deceased are now planning to hold the bouncer responsible and seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Like many families that have lost loved ones as the result of someone else's negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the best way for them to bring about justice and enforce change. This family and others hoping to hold negligent individuals responsible may benefit by working with an experienced attorney.
Source: thedenverchannel.com, "Video released of man who died after bouncer chokehold," Jaclyn Allen, Apr. 12, 2016