Law enforcement authorities are investigating a fight involving four off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputies at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.
No arrests were made in the Sunday night incident, which involved nine people, said Lt. Don Mauro, of the West Hollywood sheriff’s division.
The detective investigating the fight at the popular nightclub could not be reached Monday. Other sheriff’s spokesmen did not have details or names of the off-duty officers involved.
But the Whisky’s manager, Louie Maglieri, who lost a tooth in the incident, said the off-duty Orange County deputies appeared to have been drinking and “went crazy, beating everybody up.”
One of his employees, a doorman, was severely beaten by the off-duty deputies, he said. The employee was identified only as Claudio.
Another employee suffered cracked ribs, and a third sustained extensive bruises and scratches, Maglieri said.
Maglieri said he plans to press charges, and the nightclub’s attorney said he will file a lawsuit against the four deputies. But Mauro of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said at this point all nine people involved are “considered victim-suspects.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Richard J. Olson said Monday that he had heard nothing about the incident and that the normal procedure is for another agency to notify the department if employees are involved, but the notice is usually sent to the personnel office for a confidential investigation to determine whether the department should take internal action.
Maglieri said the deputies approached Claudio at the door, flashed their badges and were admitted without paying the club’s $10 cover charge.
The altercation began later when a nightclub employee, John Calamarino, was walking down a staircase, which was blocked by one of the deputies, Maglieri said.
Calamarino twice said, “Excuse me.” When the deputy did not move, Calamarino tried to squeeze through, Maglieri said. “The guy (deputy) turned around and smacked him.”
At that point, another security guard took the deputies out of the club, but then they attacked Claudio the doorman, the manager said.
Maglieri said the deputies told the doorman that he was under arrest and had to leave with them, but Claudio replied that he was not going anywhere. “And that’s when they beat the heck out of him.”
A couple of employees then ran up to Maglieri’s office and told him to call 911. Maglieri instead went down to investigate and found that the deputies were holding Claudio in the nightclub’s entry, a small area between the outside glass doors and the interior wooden door.
The deputies were holding the wooden door shut so no one could get to them, he said. “They closed all the doors so nobody could help him (Claudio).”
With the help of some customers, Maglieri began “ramming the door” to get it open. Each time, as it would open a few inches, he saw that one deputy, in a pink shirt, had a sneer on his face and was “doing something like kicking,” he said. Maglieri said his tooth was knocked out when the door was suddenly pushed back into his face.
Maglieri said he then ran out through the back door and around to the front. Another employee, a sound man, told Maglieri that he saw the deputies ramming Claudio’s head against the glass.
When Maglieri got to the front, he said he saw Claudio prone on the ground while the deputies continued to beat him. Then the deputies grabbed him by the shirt and called him sexually derogatory epithets, Maglieri said.
At some point, one of the deputies attacked Calamarino, who picked up a chair to block the punches coming at him, Maglieri said. Another security guard, Mark Garrelts, was also beaten when he tried to help his fellow employees, the manager said.
Two of the deputies then started to run away and urged their colleagues to leave too, but Maglieri told them to stay because he had called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Garrelts suffered four cracked ribs and is still having stomach pain, and Calamarino is scratched and bruised all over, the manager said.