“Your mourning can only come with justice,” Maximillian White says as he sits on the huge terrace of the villa where he is staying with his family in southern Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands. The British businessman (and Europe’s largest medical marijuana magnate, with €3.5 billion-worth of shares in the business) chain-smokes as he recounts what happened in the early hours of July 26 inside the Boomerang nightclub in Mallorca’s popular tourist town Magaluf. He’s referring to the altercation involving his brother and security guards. The incident led to the death of his younger brother Tobias, 35, who died after five days in a coma in a hospital in Palma, the capital of Mallorca.
Spain’s Civil Guard concluded that the officers who went to the club to arrest Tobias after an initial altercation with bouncers had not committed any type of abuse or assault against him. However, the victim’s family contends that the beating and force that the officers used when they arrested Tobias caused his death. The White family says its claims are supported by 56 videos that they have collected from people who were at the club that night and recorded the episode, as well as by the statements of 13 people who have provided sworn testified. The Palma Forensic Anatomical Institute, which is tasked for with conducting the autopsy, has sent samples to Barcelona’s Institute of Toxicology to perform additional tests to determine the victim’s cause of death. White’s lawyer, Jaime Campaner, has petitioned for a second autopsy to be conducted by the family’s own forensic expert.
White provides a detailed account of what happened that night, when the family went to see an acrobat show and then eat dinner at a restaurant on Magaluf Avenue. His eldest son and friends wanted to stay out, but Maximillian did not. “I had an argument with my brother, who accused me of being too strict with them. He told me to give them some air and that he would go with them.” They went to the VIP area of the Boomerang nightclub, where they remained all night until they decided to leave. Tobias, who was not wearing a shirt, went outside to hail his nephew a cab. When he went back into the club, White recounts, a security guard told Tobias that they had removed his belongings from the table, and that he had to put his shirt on and leave. He “went to the bar with his partner to have a final drink and wait to collect his T-shirt. He had to wait because he was told that they removed his belongings from the VIP section.” Then, the club’s bouncers “grabbed him from behind. He didn’t know who it was and started to resist.”
The businessman says that videos show that up to eight security guards immobilized his brother on the floor, handcuffing him and “holding him down, sitting on him, beating him, kicking him and ultimately contributing to his impending death.” Some of the footage recorded inside the club capture his brother face down on the floor with several security guards on top of him. Other images show him being removed from the club, handcuffed and in a semi-conscious state. According to Maximilian, several Guardia Civil officers who arrived on the scene behaved inappropriately as well. His brother went into cardiac arrest twice, but was resuscitated.
The Balearic Islands Guardia Civil’s version of the events in the club differs markedly from that of the victim’s family. Sources from the Guardia Civil note that Tobias was intoxicated and shirtless in Boomerang. “He headbutted one of the security guards, who restrained him,” these sources explain. The report concludes that the police officers arrived after receiving a tip from the venue. There, they found the victim to be “very violent,” and he had to be subdued; he was lying on the floor until the paramedics administered a tranquilizer “because he was injuring himself.” The Guardia Civil’s report states that the victim tested positive for cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and synthetic drugs; after the ambulance arrived on the scene, Tobias went into cardiac arrest and paramedics gave him tranquilizers. “We categorically deny that he was beaten,” say the Spanish police force.
After suffering two heart attacks and being resuscitated by paramedics, Tobias was admitted to Son Llàtzer hospital in Palma. He remained sedated in the intensive care unit from the time he arrived at the hospital until he was declared brain dead three days later. On July 31, the family decided to take Tobias off life support because his condition was irreversible. White brought a trusted doctor from Mexico to offer a second opinion. The victim’s brother claims that the hospital staff denied him access to Tobias during the latter’s first two days in the hospital because he was “in police custody, in handcuffs while sedated in the ICU.” The autopsy will determine whether the victim died of an overdose, asphyxiation, overexertion, or some combination thereof.
White maintains that there was police “brutality,” as well as “negligence” on the part of the hospital. “There are 2,500 billionaires in the world, and I am one of them. The difference between us and a lot of other people is that we have hundreds of people working 24 hours a day on this, which enables us to fight the battle better than the average person,” he warns. White describes his brother as “a big teddy bear.” Tobias was the father of two little girls, and the director of a technology company based in Dubai. The family hopes to return the body to Nottingham and plan the next legal steps. The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has supported the family in its efforts.