(WXYZ) - Two suburban women are turning to the 7 Action News Investigators looking for justice.
They say they were viciously attacked outside of a bar in Hamtramck, and the man who hit them is an off-duty Detroit Firefighter.
The question is: did he use his badge to wiggle off the hook?
It all happened on Paczki Day last year. Samantha Strozynski and her friend Jennifer Panduren went out together, doing some bar-hopping to celebrate Fat Tuesday in Hamtramck.
At the Mars Bar, Strozynski struck up a conversation with an off-duty Detroit firefighter named Mike Risher.
Just before 5:00 p.m., all hell broke loose outside the bar as Strozynski and Panduren were leaving. Paczki day suddenly turned into "punch me" day. As the women were standing on the sidewalk near a crosswalk, they had words with Risher, a burly firefighter and body builder.
Strozynski said she told Risher that she and Panduren were going to get something to eat. She said Risher wanted to go along and became agitated and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
"So Jennifer got upset and looked at him and said, 'why are you following us'?" said Strozynski.
The women told 7 Action News that Risher threatened to "F" them up.
"I said to him, I was like, 'Oh, you're big, you're gonna punch a girl?’And, yea, I ate my words I guess you can say because he definitely did," said Panduren.
Security video from the Mars Bar shows the women being hit and knocked off their feet. First, Panduren is seen staggering backward after Risher pushed and punched her, witnesses said.
Then Stozynski is seen getting punched in the head and going down hard to the pavement. Next, the video shows Panduren stepping forward again, throwing a kick in the firefighter’s direction, getting punched a second time and falling face down into a concrete planter.
"When I took the fall the second time, I bashed my head up there and ended up with three herniated discs in my neck. He dislocated my jaw, chipped like four or five of my teeth,” said Panduren.
“When I first went to see my chiropractor he told me that the force of the punch that I took was the equivalent of getting hit by a car going 45 miles an hour," Strozynski said.
In the security video, both women are seen sitting on the ground briefly after being hit and they appear to be temporarily dazed. Then, male customers are seen rushing out of the bar trying to restrain Risher. At one point, at least six men are seen attempting to hold Risher down. But, he still breaks free.
Also in the video, Panduren, who admitted she was drunk and very angry at being punched, jumped into the scrum as male bar patrons were trying to restrain Risher. Next, Strozynski is seen pulling Panduren to the ground and attempting to hold her back.
"And I just knew that if she continued it was only going to fuel the fire and make things worse," Strozynski told 7 Action News. After Risher broke free from the men trying to restrain him, he is seen getting in Strozynski’s face again as she is holding onto her friend. At that point, the video shows Strozynski throwing a punch at Risher.
"I mean it was either I sat there and I let him punch me, you know, or I defended myself," said Strozynski.
When Hamtramck police arrived Risher claimed that the fight actually started inside the bar and that Panduren started the brawl by hitting him in the face twice. He claimed that he swung back and had to defend himself after other people jumped in.
But the owner of the Mars Bar, who reviewed all of the security videos, inside and outside, told 7 Action News that there was no fighting inside the bar and it looked to him like Risher simply punched the two women after they had words.
Two other witnesses told police that Risher "had gone ballistic, throwing punches at Strozinski and Panduren".
The 7 Action News Investigators tracked down one of those two witnesses. He told Scott Lewis that he just happened to be walking by when the incident happened and that he didn't know any of the people involved. He said he waited around to talk to police because he had never seen anybody hit someone that hard.
A police report on the incident lists Risher’s height at six-feet, two-inches tall and weight at 275 pounds. Strozynski said she is four-feet, eleven-inches tall and Panduren put her height at five feet, one inch.
That witness who was tracked down by 7 Action News also said that when he told one of the officers what he saw, a cop responded: "I can tell you right now, not much is going to come of this because he's a Detroit fireman.”
Police did arrest Risher and Panduren for disorderly conduct and both charges were later dismissed by a judge.
When Strozinski got a copy of the security video from the Mars Bar, she said tried repeatedly to file a police report in Hamtramck, to no avail.
"Nobody would ever let us make a police report,” Stozynski said.
“You wanted to press charges for assault?” Scott Lewis asked.
“ Absolutely!” Strozynski said emphatically.
Both women told Lewis they believe that