Vice and Violence

Deadly Incident in Doorway of Local Strip Club

by Ethan Stewart

Spearmint-Rhino.jpgA night of celebration for a local
wedding party ended in tragedy last weekend, as a 26-year-old
accountant from San Francisco died after an altercation in front of
the Spearmint Rhino Adult Cabaret on Montecito Street. According to
authorities, approximately 21 minutes passed between the time
police received a call for help and the moment officers arrived on
the scene.

By then, a shirtless David Klotz (pictured, inset) — who was in
town for his high school buddy’s wedding — was lying motionless in
front of the strip club, covered with his own vomit, two large
bouncers still holding him facedown in the wood chips. Klotz
allegedly had a weak pulse when paramedics arrived. But after
repeated resuscitation attempts failed, he was taken off life
support and pronounced dead a short time later at Cottage

As of press time, no charges had been filed. Police spokesperson
Lt. Paul McCaffrey explained the fatality was “not likely a
criminal incident,” though the investigation is ongoing. To
McCaffrey, the fact that the victim showed no immediate signs of
being “roughed up” suggested that the bouncers had behaved with
“reasonable force.”

35.jpgThe trouble started shortly before 3 a.m., Saturday
morning, after Klotz ran up a $960 bill for a reported 70 minutes
of one-on-one lap dances in a back room. According to eyewitness
accounts (including that of this reporter, who was on the scene
when police arrived), Klotz stood near the cash register and
disputed the bill for some time with security personnel even though
his credit card had already been charged at least $550. After he
was repeatedly rebuffed in his offer to leave his cell phone as
collateral while he went to an outside ATM machine so he could pay
the remainder of his bill, Klotz eventually threw a punch at the
bouncer. Standard-issue wrestling, involving mutual collar grabs,
ensued, with a lamp kicked over and several customers and dancers
forced out of the way. Within a matter of seconds, Klotz was rushed
out the door by three bouncers gripping his 180-pound, 5 7

According to eyewitness Kyle Hembree, “The guy was struggling
and kicking, just fighting back for a while. But then he went limp
and they just stayed on him.” Several witnesses concur that two of
the bouncers held Klotz to the ground using a combination of arm
holds and a forearm “sleeper,” or choke hold, around his neck. Both
bouncers — who police estimated were 6 3 and 240 pounds and 6 11
and 460 pounds — remained on top of Klotz until the police arrived.
According to Klotz’s friend and local resident Vincent Lara,
doctors told a group of people gathered in the hospital early
Saturday morning that Klotz died after approximately 15-20 minutes
of asphyxiation.

Though responding officers initially placed Klotz’s limp body in
restraints, they quickly freed him, rolled him over, and attempted
to revive him with smelling salts and a few shakes of his body.
After determining that he was non-responsive, the officers opted
not to perform CPR and radioed in a Code 3, which is the police
equivalent of “all hands on deck.”

At this point, a group of about a dozen people, including Rhino
management, had gathered around the scene. Several observers called
for CPR to be administered, to which the officer closest to Klotz
responded, “He has a light pulse. … Thank you for your concern.”
Approximately 12 minutes later, paramedics arrived and immediately
began performing CPR and other life-saving efforts. According to
authorities, paramedics were able to detect and/or stimulate an
occasional heartbeat on the way to the hospital, but after a
neurological consult, Klotz’s parents opted to discontinue life

It was business as usual the next night at the Spearmint Rhino,
with the doors open for patronage and the involved bouncers on the
schedule for upcoming shifts. Calls placed to the Rhino’s regional
headquarters in Los Angeles were not returned, and local staff were
instructed not to comment. An autopsy performed early Tuesday
showed that Klotz had a preexisting heart condition and a blood
alcohol level of 0.19 at the time of his death. Additional
toxicology tests are pending, but Klotz’s friends all insist that
drug use was not a factor in the incident.


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