Two weeks ago I was at work, tending the bar in a popular bar in downtown Reykjavík when I witnessed a very unpleasant event.
Along with me there were two other female bartenders as well as a few guests. It was a Saturday evening around nine, the atmosphere was homey and cozy as it usually is right before the party people hit the town.
At some point, one of my colleagues asked some guests to leave as they were too drunk. Those guests were two young Icelandic men hanging out with a small group of friends. At that point, they hadn’t caused that big of a problem but they were just getting too drunk and they were quite noisy. When you’re a bartender, you kind of develop a sixth sense for potential troublemakers.
When one of the guests was kindly asked to leave the bar he immediately got very angry and resorted to very bad gutter language calling my colleague the worst names. On his way to the door the man knocked over a table and some chairs. So far, nothing too dramatic. My co-workers and I weren’t too concerned at this point as we are used to people reacting like this sometimes.
But just when we thought we got rid of this guy, he turned around and started trashing the bar. He was throwing heavy tables, kicking out in all directions, chairs were literally flying, he smashed a chandelier with a bar stool and smashed many, many glasses. Just when we thought he would hit one of the bartenders he left.
Although none of us was hurt, we were all in shock. I should mention that this berserk was a giant of over two meters in height and weighing probably around 150 kg, a massive chunk of man. None of us girls would have stood a chance against this raging bull. Needless to say, this act of destruction really scared us and it took ages to clean up.
We immediately called the cops, because that’s what you do in this situation. A very long 30 minutes later a police woman arrived who took our statements and checked out the footage of the security cameras as well as some photos we had taken as evidence. The reason why the police took so long to arrive was that they had been driving around downtown looking for the culprit.
After a while the police woman returned to inform us they had found the berserk at the next bar not far away. My initial reaction was “Great, they got him,” just to learn that the police hadn’t arrested the guy. What now? The jaw-dropping explanation was that “he was sorry and promised not to come back.” Well, then it’s ok, of course. This lunatic threatens us and trashes a bar, but he is sorry and therefore can continue sipping his beer on a fun night out. Are you kidding me, dearest police? You cannot be serious!
Later I learnt that said police woman was alone on patrol that very evening. Ok, I get it, that guy scared me too, but that’s why we called the police! How about calling for back-up?
Of course it sucks that this cop was on her own and budget cuts are also affecting the police, but how come that there is always a whole friggin’ squad car full of police officers when it comes to arresting drunk people for pissing in the streets? Urinating on house walls is obviously a way more serious crime and will be tackled with the utmost force and resources.
That this brute was not arrested right away does not make any sense and is really infuriating as I was personally affected by this whole story.
A few days after the incident, the news reported that four policemen had to seek medical treatment at the hospital during the weekend after having been hurt while detaining a young man in his twenties who had resisted the arrest. I’ve heard rumors that this bad tempered individual is the same brute that trashed our bar, but that’s just hearsay.
I’m honestly sorry for the injured policemen but this incident could have been easily avoided and it is sad that it had to come to this.
I’m merely pointing out the obvious when saying the police handled our case really badly, I dare say even pathetically.
If you could hear me right now, lögreglan, I would give you a round of sarcastic clapping.
Katharina Hauptmann – email@example.com