‘Bouncer beat me – police arrested me’

Sweden's top legal official recently announced plans to launch an investigation into allegations of collusion between Swedish police and bouncers. Believing himself to be the victim of just such an arrangement, Russell Cutress, a Stockholm-based Englishman, spoke to The Local about the events that led to him spending a night in a Stockholm cell and which left him with serious bruising.

Cutress, 33, was enjoying a night out with his boyfriend and a friend earlier this month when his ordeal began. The three were smoking in the courtyard of a nightclub when a bouncer asked them to move inside.

“Suddenly, without any warning or provocation, he tried to forcefully grab the lit cigarette from me. I asked him what he thought he was doing, at which point he started to roughly manhandle me out towards the side exit of the courtyard,” said Cutress.

On the footpath in front of the nightclub the situation soon escalated, with the bouncer attempting to handcuff Cutress.

“After I was pushed to the ground, two guards knelt on top of me and the original guard started beating me about the head and body with his nightstick.

“The original guard then started to try to force my fingers apart in what was a clear attempt to cause willful and malicious injury,” said Cutress.

Soon the police arrived on the scene, having been contacted by Cutress’s partner immediately after the initial fracas. But rather than questioning the bouncer, a police officer asked Cutress to step inside the police van, where he was handcuffed and whisked away to spend a night in jail.

“I asked the police why I was arrested and not the offending guard. Even though I am a resident of Sweden with a personal identification number, I was told that I am ‘foreign’, whereas they knew where they could find the guard. The officer seemed unaware of the prejudicial and discriminatory bent of her statement,” he said.

Cutress’s account comes just weeks after reports that Chancellor of Justice, Göran Lambertz, intends examining the relationship between Swedish bouncers and police.

“There have been a number of indications that certain nightclub bouncers are unsuitable, that they get involved unnecessarily or use excessive force and then blame it on the customers. It appears to be common that when customers report them to the police, they make a counter accusation of violent resistance,” Lambertz told Dagens Nyheter.

The Local contacted Norrmalm police station where Cutress was held and found that the two bouncers involved had indeed accused him of violent resistance.

“He was arrested because he hit one of the security guards in the face and kicked another in the leg. One of them had injuries to his face afterwards, while the other had a sore leg,” said police spokesman Anders Eklund.

The nightclub owner’s version of events mirrors that of the police report.

“The guard did not beat him. He hit the guard,” she told The Local, though she does concede that the bouncer might not have been completely without blame.

“I think the whole situation is the fault of both of them,” she said.

But Russell Cutress is aggrieved at his treatment at the hands of the security guards and Swedish police. He has large bruises on his arms, legs and face.

“To be forcibly restrained, handcuffed, beaten with night sticks, have a guard furtively attempt to snap my fingers, be arrested, cuffed again, repeatedly refused medical care, refused Embassy assistance and pain relief, strip-searched, questioned and have my DNA taken are things one might expect in a struggling democracy, but not in a country that is a member of the European Union.”