The security guard charged with beating up a customer at Rumrunner's downtown bar is raising new questions about the police department's version of the story.
In a recent motion to dismiss the case, Anchorage attorney Brent Cole accused police and prosecutors of misleading a grand jury and ignoring key evidence in order to win an indictment on felony assault charges against former Rumrunner's Old Towne Bar & Grill bouncer Murville Lampkin. Police say Lampkin, 39, and possibly other bouncers cuffed an unruly customer, took him downstairs and attacked him Oct. 23.
The patron, Johnny Brown, says he suffered facial and skull fractures. Bouncers beat him until he agreed not to press charges, he told the Daily News.
Lampkin and the bar have both been charged in the assault. Rumrunner's owners AB&M Enterprises face additional charges of falsifying records and evidence tampering.
In his July 12 request to dismiss the charges Cole argued that the grand jury never heard that Brown told a police officer he couldn't remember what happened and that he appeared to be confused as to whether he was at Rumrunner's or another downtown bar, Platinum Jaxx, the night of the encounter.
"The (state of Alaska) can continue this witch hunt if it wants, but it should have to do so within the boundaries of fair play and the applicable rules of criminal procedure," Cole wrote.
Motions to dismiss are commonly filed in serious criminal cases. Prosecutors had not filed a reply as of Tuesday, court records show. No trial date has been set.
The tampering charges stem from what police have described as missing surveillance video. Police say someone at Rumrunner's apparently destroyed the footage after a violent encounter between Brown, Lampkin and other bouncers.
In the motion to dismiss, Cole said the missing video amounts to just four seconds of blank screen. The footage shows Brown, Lampkin and two other bouncers entering a room in the bar. Brown can be seen standing up as he is led by an unidentified security guard, Cole writes.
Then the screen goes dark or blank. Prosecutors claimed before the grand jury that this is when bouncers attacked Brown, according to the defense lawyer. When the footage resumes as normal a few seconds later, Lampkin can be seen several feet away, shaking his finger at Brown, the motion says.
"If the Grand Jury had been shown the full video, they would have had serious doubts about the victim's story that he (was) being hit while sitting in a chair, since the surveillance tape showed that never happened," Cole argued.
The defense lawyer says prosecutors and police also failed to tell the grand jury about other, similar gaps in the video that could have revealed the missing segment to be a technical problem with the video rather than an intentional effort by Rumrunner's to delete footage.
Police have said they suspect Rumrunner's management tolerated a pattern of abuse by bouncers and have asked any additional victims to come forward. That investigation is ongoing, said Lt. Dave Parker, a police spokesman.
Sgt. Mark Rein, who is supervising the probe for Anchorage police, said that investigation is ongoing. Rein said in May that more than 15 people had contacted police to share their own stories of being hurt at the bar or seeing others victimized.
On Wednesday, Rein declined to say exactly how many more potential victims police have spoken to or if additional charges are expected. "We are still following up leads. The most recent person that's come forward was just last week," he said.
Among those interviewed by police: Roman Gimeno, of Anchorage, a computer programmer for the state who says Rumrunner's bouncers cuffed him, dragged him into a small room and broke his nose and rib. Gimeno and Brown have filed civil lawsuits against the bar.
A former Fort Richardson soldier, Bradley Woody, alleged in a 2011 lawsuit that a Rumrunner's bouncer broke his ankle. In that case, a Rumrunner's attorney claimed security footage would clear the bouncer of wrongdoing but failed to produce the video when the case went to trial, Woody said.
Rumrunner's two-year liquor license is up for renewal this year.
In Alaska, bar bouncers are not required to undergo criminal background checks before being hired. Lampkin, the former Rumrunner's bouncer, served more than eight years in prison following a 1999 arrest for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
His rap sheet included at least 10 convictions for crimes ranging from burglary to drug charges.