View Full Version : Some people dont like N.Y.s smoking ban

04-14-2003, 11:49 AM
Apr 14, 2003

An East Village nightclub bouncer was fatally stabbed when he tried to enforce the city's new smoking ban Saturday and wound up at the center of a deadly brawl, police said.

"A casualty over a cigarette -- it's just senseless," said Richard Allen, owner of Forte Security, which employed bouncer Dana Blake, 32. "I can't make heads or tails of it."

Police said the two alleged attackers, brothers who live in Chinatown, tried to flee the Avenue B club, and employees chased them down and held them on East Third Street until officers arrived.

Ching Chan, 31, and Jonathan Chan, 29, were charged with assault, weapons possession and resisting arrest. Further charges may be pending.

Michael O'Looney, a police spokesman, said Blake approached the Chans in the club, Guernica , and told them to stop smoking. One of the brothers said something in response that was difficult to hear over the music.

Blake apparently believed Jonathan Chan was becoming disorderly, O'Looney said, and he grabbed him by the neck to throw him out. Chan grabbed Blake's neck and jumped on the 6-foot-5, 300-pound bouncer with his brother and two friends.

Blake was stabbed in the lower abdomen during that scuffle, police said. He was rushed to Beth Israel Medical Center at 2:30 a.m., and died 11 hours later.

"It should never have happened -- he's so calm and disarming," Allen said. "He's the kind of guy who would go into a situation and try to defuse the situation. He'd never use his hands or violence."

Blake, of Long Island City, worked in security for about a decade, said friends, who described him as a "gentle giant."

His brother, Tony Blake, 45, said he was a talented artist who loved to draw superhero cartoons and a devoted godfather who believed "no toy was good enough" for his 2-year-old niece.

"We were just praying his big break would come through the arts someday, but it's a tough thing to break into," said Tony Blake, a construction worker. "He's not a bully. He must have tried to talk to these guys."

Friends and relatives blamed the smoking ban for what happened and angrily called for an end to the citywide policy.

"If it's costing people's lives to stop them from smoking, let them have their cigarettes," Tony Blake said.

Esaun Pinto, a security officer who once employed Blake at a different company, said he and Blake had discussed the impact of the new law on their jobs.

"We spoke about it often -- it's the buzz right now among security officers, especially in nightclub venues. This job is hard enough," Pinto said.

"People that are drinking that are smokers seem to become very agitated when you ask them to put their cigarette out," he added.

O'Looney described the fatal incident somewhat differently.

"The smoking issue was the initial contact, but the homicide seems to be more over the issue of the ejection," he said.

Neighbors, employees and security guards said Guernica, a popular East Village nightspot known for its disc jockeys, is generally a peaceful and law-abiding place. "This is never a dangerous club -- that's why I don't understand it," Allen said. "I just don't know what went wrong. I just hope others can learn from this so that nobody else gets hurt."

04-15-2003, 05:49 PM

The Chinatown brothers arrested in the stabbing death of an East Village bouncer have been released, as authorities sort out who stabbed the bouncer and what weapon was used.

"We declined to prosecute," Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, said Tuesday. "Further investigation is necessary."

Ching Chan, 31, and Jonathan Chan, 29, were arrested and their sister, Ngan Ling Chan, 33, was questioned after they got into a brawl with bouncer Dana Blake, 32, who told them they could not smoke inside the nightclub Guernica because of the new smoking ban.

Police said the bouncer grabbed one of the brothers to eject him from the club and the other siblings jumped in. All three Chans admitted getting into the fight, police said, but all denied stabbing Blake, and no weapon was recovered.

The medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. The cause of death was a "sharp force injury" of the groin, with injuries to major blood vessels, according to spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.

The ME said the wound was altered as surgeons tried to save Blake, but in the ME's opinion, the weapon was a knife, according to a high-ranking police source.

Ching Chan is a medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Jonathan Chan is a broker for Quick & Reilly. Their sister is a part-time bartender.