Early this past Sunday, on September 2, 2012, two men were taken into custody by Springfield police, facing a bevy of charges following the serious injury of a doorman working at a strip club called Mardi Gras. Elvis Bastaldo, 33, was charged with assault and battery with serious bodily injury (done to an eye socket), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, and mayhem. His brother, Juan Bastaldo, 24, was charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Springfield Police Sergeant John Delaney reported that prior to the arrest of the pair, the two men tried to escort a woman into the strip club on Taylor Street who was only eighteen years of age. The club was near to closing and the thirty-four year old Mardi Gras employee at the door refused to let the trio enter. Elvin and Juan Bastaldo also refused to pay the cover charge. After some discord, Juan, Elvin and the woman with them were ordered to leave by the three police officers who were working an extra-duty detail.
After Mardi Gras had closed, the doorman was preparing to escort one of the establishment’s female employees to her car. As soon as he opened the door to exit, the fist of Juan Bastaldo slammed into his face. Officer Thomas Liebel then struggled with Juan in the parking lot of the club while attempting to make arrest. The doorman intervened to assist the officer. During the fracas between the three, Elvin Bastaldo attacked from behind and punched the unsuspecting doorman in the eye several times with brass knuckles. More officers were then called to assist and Elvin Bastaldo was arrested after a brief chase.
The unnamed doorman was immediately transported to Mass General Hospital for emergency surgery in hopes of saving his eyesight. Injuries from the scuffle left him with a ruptured cornea and severe head trauma. Officer Liebel was taken to Mercy Medical center to receive treatment for an injury sustained to his left leg.
Officer Liebel arrived for the brothers’ arraignment this past Tuesday, September 4, 2012, in the hopes of encouraging the prosecutors to push for a high bail. The Springfield District Court judge ordered Juan Bastaldo held on $25,000 with his next hearing to be scheduled for October 2. Elvin was held without the right to bail pending a dangerousness hearing for September 7.
I found this story especially chilling because I used to be a doorman for a bar in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. I had knives pulled on me. Drunk stranger threaten to shoot me. I broke up and witnessed more bar brawls than I can remember. Police details were obviously a huge advantage. A man with a badge usually, though surprisingly, not always, held enough sway to smother the angry fires that stirred the rowdiest of customers. But what was most important was feeling like I was working with, and for, people who took my personal safety seriously while I performed my job. I personally hope the doorman will be alright as it was reported during the arraignment that he is still in danger of losing sight in the injured eye.