ORTIZ PUSHES BILL TO REQUIRE BACKGROUND CHECKS ON BOUNCERS
Assemblyman Ortiz’s A.11137 Provides Much Needed Accountability
(Albany NY) Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn), is offering his bill
A.11137 as an answer to lawsuits such as the one recently filed by the
St. Guillen family, whose daughter was murdered at a Manhattan bar. The
St. Guillen’s are suing bar owners for hiring an ex-con as a bouncer.
“If my bill A.11137 was passed, this lawsuit would not exist. My goal is
for bouncers to undergo stringent background checks to ensure that there
is no criminal record. A bouncer is hired to keep the peace within an
establishment. Someone with a record of violence is not the person to be
doing this”, Ortiz stated. “There also needs to be accountability, which
is why my bill makes everyone involved in hiring a bouncer liable,”
Ortiz’s bill mandates that bouncers or anyone acting in that capacity,
submit to a background investigation including fingerprinting and a
training program. It also holds the manager, owner and property owner
(if different) liable for hiring a bouncer with a criminal record. Ortiz
worked on the bill with Parents of Murdered Children Chair, Michael
Salem, whose godson’s death occurred at L’Amour East Club in Queens (www.helpchristopher.com).
Since his godson’s death in 1987, Salem has been campaigning for the
creation of legislation that would prevent similar cases from occurring
and was enthusiastic to find an ally in Ortiz. “We cannot allow our
young people to go into these bars and nightclubs where sadistic people
with violent backgrounds are employed as the bouncers, who are supposed
to be protecting them”, Salem stated.
Ortiz is urging his colleagues in the Assembly to support the passage of
this legislation as well as “Imette’s Law”, which requires the
installation of surveillance cameras outside of bars and nightclubs.
“When these bills become laws, countless tragedies will be prevented”,