Night out ends in trauma for friends

Razania Asaro sustained injuries to her left eye in the fight.

A Table View woman says she feels slighted by police whom she claims have failed to help her in her fight for justice.

It’s been two months since Razania Asaro opened an assault case against a bike club, but, to date, nothing has come of it.

One last drink at a Table View bar to round off an evening out for a group of friends turned violent when they clashed with a motorcycle club they accuse of being racist.

At 1.30am on Saturday July 23, Razania Asaro and four of her friends went to the Thursty Turtle bar in Porterfield Road, Table View. They had been at a birthday dinner that evening and planned to have one last drink before going home. But when Ms Asaro and her friends entered the bar she said they had felt uncomfortable when members of the Crusaders motorcyle club allegedly started making racial slurs aimed at them.

“They started saying, ‘Oh the coloureds are here. The coloureds are here.’ There were five of us and only one of my friends, Sameer Akiemdien, is coloured,” said Ms Asaro.

She said she had been relieved when her friends had decided to leave after ordering one round of drinks, but the racist remarks had turned into a physical attack when members of the Crusaders had started beating up her coloured friend.

“Sameer exited the door, and, from the corner of my eye, I saw a man raise a black-and-silver helmet above his head and bring it down on Sameer’s head, and he fell to the ground. I was horrified because he hit him again. Sameer was out on the pavement,” she said.

Ms Asaro said she had thrown the glass in her hand on the floor and ran to defend her friend whose face had been covered in blood.

A young man, who appeared to be a teenager under the age of 18, had shouted at her and she had sworn at him. It was possible pieces of the shattered glass had scraped him.

“I was then punched in the face and landed on top of Sameer. I tried to get up, and I was punched again. I never saw who hit me,” she said.

A statement to the police by one of the five friends, Tamara Ingram, says she saw “about six guys kicking him (Sameer) and hitting him while he just lay there on the ground with blood all over his face and knocked out.”

Ms Ingram claims that while she was walking to her car a “man from the Crusaders” whom she can identify followed her and started swearing and threatening her.

Another member of the group, Simone Mc Gahey, says in her statement to the police that as she left the bar “a man pushed me as hard as he could from behind, with his crash helmet in his other hand, and hit Sameer more than three times over the head and face with the helmet.”

She says the attacker’s friends, “mostly wearing the Crusader bike leather jackets”, screamed and threatened to hurt them including the young man.

“A man proceeded to hit Razania through the face as well as continued to make disgusting racial comments and again threatened to hurt all five of us,” says Ms Mc Gahey in her statement.

Ms Asaro and Mr Akiemdien were taken to hospital and later that afternoon both went separately to the Table View police station to lay charges of assault.

According to her J88 form, Ms Asaro sustained swelling and bruising to her eye that obscured her vision. She said she had not seen any bouncers or security at the bar.

Quintus van Jaarsveld, one of Thursty Turtle’s owners, declined to comment when approached by Tabletalk and referred us to Lance Muscat, the pub’s external security manager.

Mr Muscat said that at about 1am on the night in question the bar staff had called “last round” and the bouncers made sure the place was empty of customers and the door locked by about 1.35am.

“The bouncers and external security remained locked inside the venue with the bar staff to ensure the safety of the venue and staff. About 10 minutes later, at approximately 1.45am, a fight was noticed by staff outside of Buckleys in the public parking spaces on Porterfield Road.

“The bouncers and external security did not get involved because they were no longer trading and their strict mandate at that point of every evening is the security of the venue and staff. We take any claim of underage drinking very seriously, and despite all efforts we have been unable to confirm this or any other aspect of Ms Asaro’s recollection of events. We have strict security protocols to ensure the safety of our patrons. This includes doing everything we can to ensure no underage individuals are present in the venue. We actively engage with all security and law enforcement in the area to try and create a safe environment for everyone,” said Mr Muscat.

Ms Asaro said she had laid a charge against the Crusaders because she couldn’t pinpoint who had punched her. The following day, on Sunday July 24, she had returned to hospital because her eye felt like “it had knives going into it”.

She said the doctors were unable to complete a J88 form at the time because she had no case number. When she returned to the police station to query that, she learnt that there was still no number attached to her case.

”I was also told when I got there that André Nagel had handed himself in at the police station for punching me but he could not be locked up because I had no case number.”

Ms Asaro said a case of assault had also been made against her by the young man who claims she attacked him with a bottle.

Mr Nagel from the Crusaders motorcycle club declined to comment, saying he did not want to jeopardise the court case. Asked when the court case was, he said he was still awaiting the details from the detective.

Tabletalk approached another member of the club to get contact details for someone in charge, but without success. Mr Nagel then sent a message asking Tabletalk not to contact any members as none of them would be prepared to comment until the court case had run its course. He said he would answer questions only after the court case.

Ms Asaro said she was waiting on the police to get back to her about a court hearing.

She said the incident had traumatised her so much that she could not go out at night. More than a month has passed, but the scars to her left eye are still visible.

“I have so much fear. I don’t know who hit me. I’m petrified of seeing these people. At almost 54, I’m suddenly afraid. I’ve had trauma counselling and my medical bills are more than R13 000 from going to the emergency room thrice, having a CT scan done, going to the ophthalmologist and paying for medication. I want payment and I want justice. One week before voting in 2016 and people are still making racial slurs. It’s just not right,” she said.

When Tabletalk spoke to Table View police spokesperson Captain Adriana Chandler two weeks ago she said the station had no record of Ms Asaro having opened an assault case.

The only record they had was of the assault case opened against her by the young man suspected of being underage. She said the detective on duty at the time was off sick and that she would query the matter with him once he returned to work.

“This is why women are abused over and over again because nobody listens to them. This is why rape victims don’t report crimes,” said Ms Asaro.

She said she had signed the affidavit when she laid the charge and even signed the station’s client comments register, so she could not understand how she had slipped through the cracks. She gave Tabletalk a picture of the register. She also said she had sent Ms Mc Gahey’s and Ms Ingram’s statements to the police.

When Tabletalk followed up with Table View police yesterday to find out whether they had finally registered Ms Asaro’s case, Captain Chandler confirmed that Ms Asaro was the second complainant in case number 503-07-2016.