Rumors of aggressive shakedown tactics by doormen at nightclubs surfaced after the Internal Revenue Service raided Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace in February. But several years earlier, a firefighter from the Bay Area says he was beaten to a pulp when he wouldn’t hand over bribes to bouncers at Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay.
The firefighter, Joshua Parks, 32, sued the club and two bouncers in 2004. The case is being tried this week in District Court and is expected to last at least two weeks.
Parks, who stands roughly 5 foot 6 inches and weighs about 155 pounds, and his wife, Laura, attended the first day of trial. His attorney declined to make them available for interviews, and attorneys for the defendants declined to discuss the case on the record.
Parks’ civil complaint alleges two bouncers, Orlando Johnson and Robert Rossol, “viciously attacked” Parks. He was beaten so badly that he required hospitalization and suffered from a fractured femur, severe concussion and multiple bruises over his eyes, ears and chin.
The defendants denied the accusations.
On March 28, 2004, Parks came to Las Vegas to attend a friend’s wedding. The weekend trip started out as a typical Las Vegas weekend getaway. He and his friends toured several casinos, checked out the pool at Mandalay Bay and, according to a statement that Parks gave, were having a “great time.”
The next day he attended the wedding and afterward went to a post-wedding dinner at an Italian restaurant at the Strip resort. At the dinner he consumed several double whiskey and waters and several beers, he said at a later deposition.
After the dinner, the group walked to Rumjungle. Here the group continued drinking and toasted the groom at least once. Parks stated he had at least two more drinks and then went outside the club to smoke a cigarette.
When he tried to get back inside the club a bouncer demanded money, he claimed. He described the bouncer as being about 6 feet 2 inches and weighing around 250 pounds. He said the bouncer wasn’t asking for a cover charge. It was a bribe, he said.
“It was more or less, you know, ‘give me some money and I’ll let you back in here,'” Parks said in a 2005 deposition. “I felt at that point I was being muscled.”
Parks said he then was beaten up by bouncers.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me,” he said. “Punches being thrown, I was being choked.”
The next thing he knew, he woke up in an ambulance.
The bouncers, however, tell a different story. In court documents, the bouncers claimed that Parks was being verbally abusive to a host. Rossol told Parks he was too intoxicated to enter the club and Parks became “belligerent,” the documents state.
Parks tried to choke one of the bouncers and they tried to subdue him, the documents state.
Las Vegas police were called to the scene and made a brief report. In it, Parks is identified as both a victim and a suspect in the misdemeanor battery case. No bouncers are named as suspects.
Parks conceded that he was drinking but denies that he was intoxicated.
“I was having fun. I was having fun in Las Vegas. I didn’t know I’d wind up with a broken femur,” he said.
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 380-1039.