Phoenix AZ July 29 2017 The widow of a Daisy Mountain firefighter who police say was beaten to death by a bar employee is asking Arizona lawmakers to pass legislation that regulates bouncers.
“As much as I wish he had come home that night … what happened to him at Centerfolds should never happen to anybody,” Heather Jones said while flanked by nearly 20 of her husband’s co-workers and friends.
Luke Jones, 37, died after an assault at Centerfolds Cabaret, a strip club in west Phoenix.
Doorman Brandon Draper is charged with second-degree murder in his death. The manager, Timothy John Piegari, is charged with hindering prosecution and evidence tampering.
Centerfolds Cabaret agreed in March to surrender its liquor license. Its former owners could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“Luke’s Law, which is not yet in draft form, would make sure something like this doesn’t happen in the future,” Heather Jones said.
She spoke publicly about her husband’s death for the first time Thursday.
“Luke was my best friend,” Jones said, sniffling. “He was my everything, and he had just surprised me on our 15th wedding anniversary.”
The couple had a young daughter.
“Let’s talk about the laws that regulate bouncers in the state of Arizona, and this is a really simple discussion, because there are none,” said attorney James Goodnow, who is representing Jones.
Goodnow and his legal partner, Marc Lamber, said security guards must be trained and licensed under the Department of Public Safety, so the same should apply to bouncers.
“Bouncers aren’t defined as security guards or police officers. They fall between the cracks,” Lamber said.
Goodnow said he’d like to see bouncers receive background checks and training in courses developed by experts.
Jones, Goodnow and Lamber have put together an online petition urging Arizona lawmakers to draft and pass legislation that regulates the hiring and training of bouncers.
“California, New York, Louisiana and countless cities around the country have enacted laws that require training, background checks and other safety measures when it comes to bouncers,” Goodnow said. “We do think there are some good laws on the books that would serve as a good roadmap.”
In California, bouncers are called “proprietary private security officers” and must be uniformed, undergo a background check and 16 hours of training, according to information on California’s Department Consumer Affairs.
Goodnow said he has spoken to a few lawmakers but is still looking for someone to sponsor a bill.
“We’re looking to gather signatures, get the attention of lawmakers and, most importantly, save lives,” he said.