First they want no guns, and now they want ARMED GUARDS?
And what happens when a patron follows the MPD policy and calls the police?MADISON -- A metal detector, security cameras and dress code weren't enough to prevent a shooting and stabbing at a Madison bar over the weekend, so Madison officials are moving to close the place down.
The city attorney has taken the first steps toward revoking the bar's liquor license. In the meantime, police have ordered the owner of R Place on Park, 1821 S. Park, to hire two armed security guards to keep order.
On Thursday, the bar was locked and a notice was taped inside a front window announcing that the place "will be open for private or invitation only events until further notice."
Owner Roderick "Rick" Flowers didn't respond to phone messages Thursday. Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy said that Flowers has accused the city of racial discrimination, which she denied.
"Race is an issue only because the people (most bar patrons) happen to be black and he happens to be a black owner," Zilavy said Thursday. "But when you have guns, stabbings and such violent incidents, especially in a place so close to residences, it's a public safety issue, it isn't a race issue."
Zilavy on Thursday was preparing paperwork for revocation of the bar's license, either in court or through the city Alcohol License Review Committee. She said she was pursuing both tracks to ensure the earliest possible action.
"I was very disappointed in our phone conversation this afternoon," Zilavy said in a letter to Flowers that a police captain delivered to him Wednesday. "It is clear to me that you are not taking responsibility for the nuisance activity occurring at and in association with R Place."
After the violence this weekend, police asked Flowers to voluntarily close the bar at 11 p.m. for the next two weeks, but he refused.
"Your immediate response was ‘what am I going to get in return,'" the letter states. "The City, more specifically, the police department, can't run your business for you."
It's unclear when the notice was taped to the window indicating the bar wasn't open to the public.
Capt. Joe Balles, commander of the police department South District, also rejected Flowers' assertion of racism.
"Rick (Flowers) can say that all he wants," Balles said. "He has an establishment that attracts a thug element. Why is it that people feel they need to bring firearms to this particular bar? And knives?"
Balles acknowledged that other bars have similar numbers of police calls for fights and other problems, but most are larger than the 15-by-56-foot, 47-person capacity R Place, and the other places don't have incidents with weapons.
"When you have two incidents back to back with this number of weapons involved, something has to be done," Balles said, adding that it has taken a heavy police presence at the bar to prevent more violence.
Early Saturday morning, a 25-year-old Madison woman was stabbed in the wrist after a dispute with another woman inside the bar, and two men Sunday morning fired gunshots after one of them was hit in the back of the head with a glass or bottle outside, police reported. The first gunman fired into the ground in an attempt to break up a fight, but the shots made the other armed man think he was under attack, so he started shooting toward Park Street, police said.
A little over a year ago, a bullet hole was found in the window of a nearby home after police responded to reports of seven or eight shots fired at the bar.
In May 2009, a man sitting in his vehicle was shot in the thigh outside the bar.
In 2009, police recorded 79 calls for service at the bar's address, including four fights or attacks and three weapons offenses. From Jan. 1 through Monday, there were 157 calls, including 11 fights or attacks and one weapons offense. Most of the rest were related to noise or other disturbances and police checking the property for problems.
Kevin and Jody McGettigan are among those who live in homes behind the bar on Beld Street and have complained regularly about booming music from the bar and from customers' cars since it opened in 2006.
"I've even tried to sleep with earplugs and that music just pours through the house," Jody McGettigan said.
"You're grateful on Monday and Tuesday that you can get some sleep," Kevin McGettigan said.
Madison is just so FUBAR!!
seems to me a couple of open carriers out for stroll might meet their expectations.
Now if they require armed gaurds at HOOTERS on E. Wash., I'm in!!!!!!!!!
Im with you na559....Ill go!
Looks like they are drumming up overtime opportunities for the union. I wonder if there are guaranties in their contract
I wonder how they are able to put this "memo" out since the McDonald vs Chicago decision?
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)
If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor
I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)
Similiar to Green Bay. Basically every bar that plays rap music is a problem for the city. Vicenzi's being the prime example, and Five Six was the old problem. Says something about the demographic that listens to that music doesn't it?
No Wisconsin law has changed since and because of Heller or McDonald.
I remember a certain person years ago that used to seem to take great pleasure in OC'ing when on duty at a certain west side movie theater, well within the law.
And the amount that these employers pay for "armed" guards is pathetic. At least it was when I interviewed back in 99. I guarantee that the client doesn't get over that easy though.
I don't see how the police can require someone to hire guards, but Madison PD seems twisted
enough to figure out a semi-legal way that would break the bar owner by protesting it in court.
As for the Hooter's thing, I think the armed guards need to be women. We'd have less distraction
from the, um, "scenery", & would pay more attention to the patrons who might be bothering the
nice young ladies who prostitute themselves. (Oops... did I say that out loud?)
Madison is one seriously backwards town.
You're right, on both counts.
Being from not-Wisconsin I don't know the answer to this, or even all the possible ramifications.
But are armed security guards there authorized to make arrests for misdemeanor offenses committed in their presence? Because unless they have powers of arrest (other than that of Citizen's Arrest for felonies) I can't see what good they would serve except to cost the bar owner money and expose him to greater liability.
If the place was as bad as the order by the cops suggests it should have been closed as a common nuisance. Forget "private" and "by invitation only" events. If it draws folks who misbehave then the cops have a procedure to deal with that - but it seems they are either reluctant to do so or ignorant of the procedure. I have seen some places here (Virginia) where the cops camped out until they had accumulated enough evidence/information to get a common nuisance declaration from the court - usually takes 2 nights at the most, no matter how well folks think they are trying to behave while the cops are around.
To say Madison and its police force are FUBAR'd is an understatement.
I am a law enforcement officer (28+ years with a superior rank) as well as a senior employee with a very large, world wide, well known security company. I can attest with absolute certainty that security guards in Wisconsin can legally carry (openly) firearms in places that serve alcohol if they have met certain (easy to obtain) licensing credentials.
What I've been doing in the last 30 hours is trying to find the statuary authority any law enforcement agency has to order any private business to have any form of security, including armed or unarmed security. I'll gladly admit my ignorance if anyone can show me such authority.
I do not believe that it exists.
Unfortunately we cannot be certain that statutory authority does not exist without examining the entire universe of discourse that here includes Federal Public Law PL, Code USC, Regulation CFR, Wisconsin Statutes, Wisconsin Administrative Rules, Wisconsin Administrative Regulations, Ordinances affecting Madison and, finally, Madison law enforcement agencies' policies and procedures.