The footage, which has gone viral , was taken by a customer inside Hardy’s bar in Liverpool on Easter Sunday, the Mirror reports.
The video, first published by the Liverpool Echo, appears to show the doorman avoiding a punch from the woman after she swung at him – before striking her in the face.
The dramatic footage has been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook and has led to a debate about whether the man was justified in retaliating.
Many of those who have posted their opinions online have said that the bouncer was within his rights to strike the woman after she got physical towards him first, others have said he should not have resorted to violence.
But there are many misconceptions about what bouncers are legally allowed to do.
The Liverpool Echo checked the rules and spoke to the experts – here is what a bouncer can legally do during a confrontation:
Can they use excessive force?
Bouncers are not free to engage in excessive force or violence as they see fit.
Generally speaking, bouncers can only use force if it is first used against them.
These are the same rights as any ordinary citizen (i.e. the right to self-defense).
What tasks can they perform?
Bouncers are legally allowed to perform such tasks as:
Issue verbal warnings
Ask you to leave
Check for ID
Refuse entry if the customer is too intoxicated, fails to comply with establishment policies, or engages in aggressive behaviour
Call the police
Protect innocent bystanders from violence
Break up fights they are not involved in
Respond with equal force if necessary
What are they trained to do?
Most bouncers are trained to remedy situations through verbal communication rather than physical force.
Often at times, their presence alone is enough to deter patrons from aggressive behaviour.
What are bouncers not allowed to do?
Bouncers are not entitled to engage in the use of force unless they are first threatened with physical harm.
Thus, unless they are approached with physical threats of harm, bouncers are not permitted to:
Strike a patron with a punch or kick
Push or physically throw a person out of the establishment
Restrain them in a chokeholds or other techniques
What do I do if a bouncer assaults me?
If you feel that you have an assault claim against a bouncer or the establishment that employed the bouncer, you should take the following steps:
Make a written report of the incident while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Take note of dates, times, and the address where it happened. Be sure to describe the incident itself, the circumstances leading up to the assault, and anything that happened afterwards.
Request and keep copies of any police reports that were made
Take down important contact information for the bouncer as well as any witnesses to the incident
Finally, most establishments require bouncers to make written incident reports, especially where they have used force.
You should inquire as to whether an incident report was made, and request a copy.
Karl Barry, the acting chair of the Merseyside Security Forum, said it is important that any investigation into the incident looks at the bigger picture – including the events that transpired before the video was shot.
Mr Barry said that when it comes to incidents like this – there are three specific areas to look at.
He said: “The rights of a security guard are the same as anyone else, he has the right to use reasonable force but that depends on necessity, proportionality and justification.
“Was it necessary and was it proportional? That determines whether the action was justified, but I don’t know the full circumstances in this case.
“While it looks like he has defended himself, that does not mean I condone what he did and perhaps if he had been supported by his colleagues, then they would have taken over before he lost control.”
Merseyside Police confirmed they are looking into the incident close to Hardy’s Bar in Mathew Street on Easter Sunday.
A force spokesman said: “At about 6.50pm, a report was received that a woman had been assaulted by a man close to Hardy’s Bar on Mathew Street.
“Officers attended and enquiries into the matter are ongoing.”
Anyone with information can contact Merseyside Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.