So it was just another Sunday working at the hostel bar, or so I thought… The day started off like any other. I showed up before 2 pm and opened the bar. People started ordering drinks and everyone was having a nice time relaxing under the hot Darwin sun. Nearly everyone who drinks at the hostel bar are people staying at the hostel. The bar is situated inside the hostel so unless you knew it was there you would not see it. We do get a few locals and visitors but because of the liquor license, the bar cannot advertise on the street.
How It All Started
Not long after the bar opened, a guy who I have never seen before showed up. He told me he was from Brisbane and was in town for work. He was not acting out of the ordinary and was very friendly. He ordered some beers and shots for him and some people he met at the table where he was sitting. The one thing that stuck out about him was his sheer size, he literally looked like Mike Tyson in his prime.
He was sitting down talking to some of the people staying at the hostel. I was working behind the bar and noticed he was starting to get more loud and aggressive. At one point he took his shirt off. I thought to myself this guy would absolutely destroy me in a fight. I was keeping an eye on him because he was new and starting to annoy some of the hostel guests.
There were a group of Aussies drinking at a table near him. I did not see this but apparently he started messing with one of them and then put his arm around his neck, supposedly as a joke. The guy got mad and told the guy to leave him alone. This is when I got involved. I went over and told both of them to calm down and take it easy. The big guy said it was all a joke, apologized and the said the smaller guy needed to calm down. The smaller guy took some offense to this and suddenly things got out of hand. The big guy lost it and started saying he would fuck him up and called him all kinds of names. I got in between them and told the smaller guy to walk away and tried to calm down the big guy. I then told him he had to leave because of what happened. He refused and said he was going to keep drinking.
He got increasingly aggressive and kept berating the other guy, and then began to mess with other people. I told him again he needed to leave but he refused. I went over to reception and told them to call the police. I eventually convinced him to walk with me to the other end of the hostel, away from everyone else. He agreed only if he could bring his beer. I told him that was fine, thinking the police would be there soon.
I was trying to talk him down but he got increasingly more aggressive. He was pretty drunk at this point, the only thing making me feel somewhat relieved if we got into a fight. Ten minutes go by and still no police. He then tells me he is going back to where all the people are. I told him he could not do that. He started to lunge at me and cocked back his fist like he was going to hit me. I put my hands up to block it. He started laughing and said he was just messing with me. I did not take it like that. He then tells me he was going there and if I did not move out of his way I would be sorry. I said, “Do what you gotta do man but you can’t go over there. You need to leave right now.” He starred at me and said, “This is because I am black isn’t it? Why don’t you treat the white guys like this?” I told him it had nothing to do with his skin color but everything to do with him trying to start a fight and the way he was acting.
By this point, 15 minutes had gone by. My adrenaline was jacked from constant fear of being hit by this guy. We were standing next to the pool and I kept thinking if he tries to hit me I will either push him in the pool or try and get my arms around his neck to choke him out. The pool option seemed much better. He told me he promised to not bother anyone if we could go to a table closer to where everyone was but no one was sitting at. I decided this would be the best option because I thought he would calm down and the police would surely be arriving soon.
We get to the table and he calms down a bit. A few of my friends from the hostel came over to try and help out. Then an employee from the hostel walks over and, for whatever reason, triggers the guy. He starts asking the employee for his ID and starts to get really mad. The guys shirt was off and there were veins bulging out of his arms. I told the employee to get the hell away from the situation. Now 20 minutes had gone by and still no police. I make a decision to leave him with a few other guys and go over to reception and tell them to call the police again and say things are getting out of control. I go back out and he says if the police come I will be sorry. I said that if he just leaves now there will be no problems. He again says he is not leaving and then asks me to have a drink with him. I told him no. He then grabs a jug of beer and starts to chug it, drinking nearly all of it. He then challenges me to do that same. When I told him no he started to get very upset. During all of this he was harassing other customers sitting by the pool and saying things to some women, like “Let me see that pussy girl!” I told him to knock it off and reminded him he promised to behave if I let him sit at this table.
The Police Arrive
Finally, when I think things were really about to get out of control, 2 uniformed police showed up, a man and a woman. I informed them that I asked him to leave and he refused. They calmly told him that this is a licensed premises and then he has to leave. He again refused and told them there was no problem. I was standing right behind the female officer when all of this was going down. They told him if he left now there would be no further problem. Nearly 5 minutes go by and they are still trying to get him to leave calmly. They then inform him that he is under arrest for failing to leave a licensed premises. He gets very angry about this. I told him to just listen to them and things will be fine.
At this point the male officer charges his taser, I really thought things were going to go down. He also got on the radio and said he needed backup. Then the guy lunges at the female office, she backs up and nearly trips over a pool chair behind her. I kick it away to give her some more room. I was ready to get involved if he would have hit her, and many of the guys around would have too. Then, 3 plain clothes male officers enter through the back gate. They are all wearing body cameras on their chests and all looked like Rambo. Once these guys arrive there is no more talking.
They all take hold of him and inform him he is under arrest. Then the most bizarre thing happened, he started crying. Seeing a guy that big cry when he is arrested is definitely odd, especially after how tough he had been acting. He was not exactly complying but at this point he was overpowered. Once cuffed, he told one of the plain clothes officers, “Fuck you cunt!” The officer replied in a serious tone, “Watch your mouth, you understand me?” He seemed to understand that. He was then taken out of the hostel.
When the police arrived and started talking to him, I gave it 30 seconds before they took him down. This is my American view of law enforcement at work. There was a large black man not complying, we all know the result of that. After 5 minutes of talking to him, while he was not complying I was, frankly, shocked. They maintained a calm, professional yet alert attitude. I was so amazed that this guy was not on the ground being cuffed. Even after he lunged at the female officer, they remained calm and in charge. I do believe if the plain clothes officers would not have shown up when they did he may have gotten tasered, and deservedly so.
I have been in Australia for 6 months now. I have seen many cops on the street in different cities and also witnessed this experience. I don’t know if they have better training or maybe they are not as worried that everyone has a gun, but they are definitely more approachable and less threatening here. I can say one thing for sure, the scenario I described above would have certainly played out much differently in America. The sad part is it does not have to.