EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 10, 2012

La Guira nightclub bouncer sentenced to 90 days

By Keith Eddings keddings@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — The 378-pound nightclub bouncer who pleaded guilty last week to attacking a man in a fried chicken restaurant — allegedly while accusing him of snitching on Mayor William Lantigua — was sentenced to 90 days in jail yesterday, minus the 60 he’s already served.

The bouncer, David Figueroa, 26, was sent back to the Middleton House of Correction after Lawrence District Court Judge James Barretto imposed the sentence, which followed Figueroa’s guilty plea last week.

Figueroa initially pleaded not guilty to assault and witness intimidation charges after the attack on Antonio Arevalo, which was recorded by the restaurant’s security camera and by the voice mail of an Eagle-Tribune reporter Arevalo called as the attack was underway. The tape, which gave the incident local notoriety when it was posted on YouTube, shows Figueroa towering over Arevalo, flinging him by his jacket around the restaurant’s kitchen and punching him in the head.

Figueroa is more than a foot taller and 225 pounds heavier than Arevalo, who’s arm was broken in two places in the April 30, 2011, attack.

The witness intimidation charge was later dismissed.

Barretto released Figueroa on $2,500 bail after the attack, but revoked the bail and sent him back to jail after Figueroa was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, a charge that was later dropped. He served 60 days.

Arevalo, a 45-year-old Spanish language translator, is an outspoken political opponent of Lantigua’s and often chronicled the mayor’s visits to local nightclubs and restaurants, including at La Guira nightclub, where Figueroa worked as a bouncer. He told police he believed the attack against him was motivated by his opposition to Lantigua, an account that appeared to be supported by the cell phone recording Arevalo left on the Eagle-Tribune voice mail at the time of the attack at 4 a.m.

The recording includes the voice of a man who twice accuses Arevalo of being “a (expletive deleted) snitch.”

The recording also mentions Lantigua, but the context is inaudible.

The recording appears to coincide with the video recording of the attack by the security camera at the Crown Fried Chicken restaurant, which shows Arevalo holding up a cell phone as Figueroa approaches him.

The restaurant is next to the La Guira nightclub at 205 Broadway, where Figueroa was working that night. In a statement to police after his arrest, Figueroa denied attacking Arevalo but said Arevalo had provoked him by snapping pictures of a fight outside the club as Figueroa tried to break it up.

La Guira was on Lantigua’s nightclub circuit, until it was shut by the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission in August following a double homicide inside the club two years earlier.

In January 2011, four months before he was attacked by Figueroa, Arevalo unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against Lantigua, telling a District Court judge that an earlier confrontation with the mayor in a downtown nightclub left him fearful for his safety.

Arevalo then sought another restraining order against Patrick Blanchette, Lantigua’s economic development director. That also was denied.

“He targeted me,” Arevalo said about Figueroa after the attack. “He’s seen me plenty of times. But since he found out I took the mayor to court, he turned on me.”

In an interview after Arevalo sought the restraining order against him, Lantigua dismissed Arevalo as a “nut” working with his political opponents to discredit his administration.

Yesterday, Arevalo called the sentence imposed by Judge Barretto “pretty lenient.”

Prosecutor Beth McCarthy sought a one-year sentence, with six months to be served.