*Warning: Inside this story there is an image that some may consider graphic.
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Two men claim bouncers beat them to a bloody pulp for no reason, outside an Albuquerque nightclub. The club’s General Manager claims his bouncer had to defend himself.
Both sides tell different stories about what happened at Imbibe Tuesday night. But, the two men injured told KRQE News 13, their wounds speak for themselves. As a warning, some of the pictures are graphic.
“It was completely excessive and unnecessary,” John Rozema told KRQE News 13. He and his friend, Caleb Vanzoeren, claim bouncers at Imbibe in Nob Hill knocked them unconscious Tuesday night.
Along with a broken nose, Caleb told KRQE News 13, “the bottom of my eye socket is broken, the eye socket is concave into my face, and my cheek, I have six fractures in my cheek, I had bleeding on my brain.”
His face was badly beaten. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance Tuesday night from Imbibe.
Caleb said a girl he was with at Imbibe was drunk, and asked to leave. But, when they went outside, Caleb claims a bouncer confronted him.
“I went to go walk around him and right then is when he hit me in the face,” said Caleb.
John Rozema said he saw the bouncer throw the first punch, and hit Caleb. “Caleb wasn’t threatening him or anything, he was trying to get past him,” said John.
KRQE News 13 called Imbibe to ask about the fight. The General Manager wouldn’t go on camera, but he claims his security guard punched John and Caleb each one time, and acted in self defense after the two tried to hit him.
Imbibe’s manager said Caleb and his friend were bothering a hot dog vendor outside, by leaning on his truck. When asked to leave, the manager said John jumped on the bouncer’s back.
John told KRQE News 13 that’s not true. When he noticed Caleb get hit, John said he tried to intervene. “I was getting choked from behind, and I eventually went unconscious,” he explained.
Both men said multiple bouncers threw blow after blow, and punched them on the sidewalk after they tried to leave.
John said the club’s bouncers took it too far. “At no point were they trying to get us out of there, at no point were they trying to get us to leave and just get the situation under control,” said John.
Imbibe’s manager told KRQE News 13 there was only one bouncer involved in the fight. The manager said his staffer was just doing his job, and wasn’t injured.
John and Caleb said the fact that the bouncers were uninjured, proves their point. “You can look at my hands, you can look at Caleb’s hands, obviously we didn’t throw any punches,” said John.
“I never hit anybody, never threw a punch, anything,” Caleb said. “No matter what they say, no matter what the story is, excessive force was used, I was almost beat to death. I had brain bleeding, I had broken bones everywhere.”
The two friends said they don’t want this to happen to anyone else, and want the bouncers to face criminal charges.
“I mean it’s just not right. That kind of stuff can’t happen,” Caleb said. Caleb had surgery on his face Friday. He said his medical expenses will likely exceed $30,000.
When Albuquerque Police arrived on scene Tuesday night, the men said no one was charged with a crime, or given citations.
The Imbibe manager told KRQE News 13, the employee involved will not face any disciplinary action. He said there’s no surveillance video of the fight, since it happened out of the camera’s line of sight.
The two men injured called APD to complete a follow-up report. Police said they’re still investigating the case.
In a separate case, two downtown bouncers were charged in December for aggravated battery. Video that’s tough to watch, showed a bouncer kicking a man in the head and the other standing on the man’s neck.