Police reviewing surveillance in soldier beating incident

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Bouncer controversy
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Bouncer controversy

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Pictures of a front tooth knocked out, a bloodied and swollen head, and other injuries that family members say include a concussion.

They're the images of a Fort Bragg soldier that have been shared, tagged and commented on thousands of times via Facebook.

Posted by his brother, Gabriel Ciraulo's case is drawing backlash from social media subscribers who blame a Fayetteville bar for excessive force causing the injuries, and investigators for where the case stands today.

Ciraulo, 21, was involved in a fight with a bar bouncer Thursday night. The incident happened outside of the Maverick's Saloon, located off Raeford Road.

Via social media, Ciraulo's family and supporters said he was beaten repeatedly to the point of unconsciousness by a nearly 300 pound bouncer.

Ciraulo is in the 160 pound range.

Investigators said when they arrived to the bar Thursday night, Ciraulo had already been transported to Womack Army Medical Center by friends. Police did get a chance to speak with Ciraulo from his hospital room, as well as the bouncer who remained at the bar. Both had conflicting stories about what led up to the fight.

Now police are relying on surveillance obtained Tuesday to tell a full story-how the incident started, who initiated it, and whether unnecessary force was used.

"We are investigating it," Lt. David McLaurin confirmed. "We're trying to hear both sides of the story."

In the social media posts, commenters claimed a history of problems between Maverick's employees and veterans. According to records, Fayetteville Police have only responded to the establishment three times this year. Until Thursday night's fourth incident, the recorded disturbances never involved employees.

Messages left with Maverick's owner were not returned Tuesday afternoon, but someone representing the establishment responded to the backlash on the business' Facebook page. That person posted the business had been within its legal right for actions taken Thursday night, and they'd been cleared of any wrongdoing by authorities.

FPD said Tuesday they are still reviewing that tape, as well as returning to the men involved for further questioning. When asked if they'd want the public to withhold judgement, McLaurin nodded.

"Absolutely," he said. "We would appreciate that until we can hear both sides of the story and hear all the facts."

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