Police say it wasn't the fact that a doorman at Cafe 1221 on Dorchester Avenue had an apparently drunken, angry patron restrained on the sidewalk that bothered them. It was, they say, the blood pouring out of several gashes on his face and head, which suggested to them that more than simple restraint had been applied to the man on the night of Nov. 24.
The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take over the incident, which restaurant managers say started when a regular customer, who had been in the restaurant for 90 minutes to 2 hours, got up to go outside for a smoke break.
The doorman, who doubled as a bouncer, noticed he was wobbly on his feet and told him that while he could go back inside to eat, he was done drinking for the night, a manager told the board. The man seemed to accept that, went back in and ordered some food to go.
But apparently he was seething inside. According to a police report, he threw soup at the doorman. Hang Nina Nguyen, the restaurant's lawyer, however, said he actually threw periwinkle snails. "They were hard" and bounced off the doorman's head - and off another patron - she said.
According to a police report, the doorman got him outside, then the man tried to swing at the doorman and the doorman "restrained him to the ground" to await police - who arrived five minutes later.
Sgt. James Nolan told the board that according to the officers who first arrived, all the bloody lacerations "were injuries not consistent with just being restrained."
"There were cuts around his forehead and there was a lot of blood," said Det. Charles Coleman, who arrived on the scene just in time to see the patron being loaded into the ambulance.
One manager said he saw the doorman restaining the customer. He said he didn't see any pummelling going on, but acknowledged he couldn't make out much because he stayed inside the restaurant, rather than going out onto the sidewalk.
The bouncer did not attend the hearing. Nguyen said the man, who works for a third-party security firm hired by Club 1221 can no longer be found - he apparently has moved out of state since the incident.
This was the second incident of blood being spilled outside the cafe in less than a year. Last March, two men were charged with smashing a man in the head with a hammer in the restaurant parking lot.
Ed. note: Given today's date, I feel compelled to say that, yes, there really was a Boston Licensing Board hearing today on Cafe 1221 and, yes, a man was accused of inciting an incident by throwing periwinkle snails at a doorman.