Hotel assault claim

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MORNINGTON police will review CCTV and mobile phone images of an incident outside the Bay Hotel amid claims and counter-claims of assault by patrons, bouncers and police.

Police said 25-year-old Nick Derek Walter of Frankston South would be charged on summons with resisting arrest and assaulting police after the violent exchange in Main St, Mornington, about 1am Sunday.

Mr Walter claims he was assaulted by hotel security guards and police but has not made an official complaint.

At least one of the bouncers involved has been struck off the payroll of the hotel after he was captured on a mobile phone video punching Mr Walter.

Mr Walter told The News he may have “accidentally kicked” one police officer when he went into “survival mode” after being handcuffed.

When first contacted by The News yesterday, Mornington police said the weekend in Mornington had been quiet and incident-free. When later asked about the fight outside the hotel, The News was referred to the police media unit, which issued a statement saying Mr Walter would be charged by summons later this week.

The statement read: “Police have been told the man was refused entry into the venue and was being moved on by security when he allegedly pushed one of them in the chest just before 1am.

“Passing Mornington police have stopped to assist and arrested the man with help from security. The man allegedly resisted arrest as he was being placed in the van. During the arrest, one of the police members suffered a minor injury to the face and was taken to Frankston Hospital for treatment.”

A bystander who filmed the incident on a mobile phone posted the video on Facebook on Sunday, triggering discussion about the frequency of violent altercations between patrons and bouncers at Mornington venues.

The video is wobbly at times, but it clearly shows Mr Walter arguing with security staff and being dragged to the ground on Main St by one bouncer while being punched by another.

Bay Hotel licensee and manager Anthony Dawe said the bouncer had overreacted and would no longer be working for the hotel.

“The security guard did the wrong thing; it is not the way we do things,” Mr Dawe said.

“I don’t accept the actions of that guard, but there was a lot that went on before the person started recording the video that was posted on the internet.”

He said Mr Walter had been re­peated­ly refused entry to the hotel nightclub because he was believed to be drunk and was evicted by bouncers when he tried to jump a security bar­rier. He alleged Mr Walter hit one of the bouncers working on the door.

Mr Walter told The News he was not drunk, saying he had had “about four” drinks at another bar in Main St before attempting to enter the Bay Hotel. He said he did not hit any bouncer.

“I have never intentionally hit any­one in my life,” he said.

“I am the victim here and I’m being told I’m the bad guy.”

Mr Dawe said it was the first such incident in the five years he had ma­naged the hotel, but conceded there was a problem with drunken revellers in Mornington.

“Anyone who gets kicked out of any other venue congregates outside the Bay,” he said.

While he was required by law to employ six security guards, he regu­larly employed up to 15 on a Saturday night.

“My priority is to make people safe and with more guards on it helps,” he said.

The traffic on a social networking site yesterday and on Sunday painted a different picture, with claims of fre­quent fights at licensed venues in Mornington in the early hours of Sat­ur­day and Sunday.

Acting Senior Sergeant Karl David, who was in charge at Mornington yes­terday, said he was unable to comment on the incident as he was usually post­ed at Rosebud.

He confirmed police would review all video footage of Sunday morning’s incident, including the mobile phone footage.

Mr Dawes said the Bay Hotel had given police video footage from all its security cameras.

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