Sunday Sound-off: Are bar owners responsible for incidents outside bars?
The May 16 shooting outside Martini Mike's, 730 N. Old World 3rd St., was not the first shooting outside a Milwaukee bar and it most certainly won't be the last.
Owner Mike Kozak has closed Martini Mike's -- which was scheduled to shut for a 90-day suspension on May 26 -- and had planned to reopen the establishment with a new concept after the suspension.
Many city officials, including Mayor Tom Barrett, have said that Kozak should surrender his license in light of a long history of neighborhood complaints leading up to last weekend's violence.
According to the police report, the shooting stemmed from a fight that started inside the bar. The patrons were ejected and the altercation continued outside and into the street, where the suspect opened fire on a vehicle, killing one man and injuring two others.
If the incident inside the bar was handled by security and the patrons in question were removed from the premises, did the bar do its part?
It's a tough question and there is no right answer. But, we turn our forum over to you: should bar owners be held responsible for incidents that occur outside of their establishments?
How about blaming the morons who can't seem to behave in a civilized manner when they imbibe? Might as well make every Auto Dealer responsible for every accident that occurs with any car they sell. Ludicrous.
What WOULD be effective is to increase the police presence in this neighborhood to the point where patrons feel supervised but not harassed. I don't mean pulling over everyone that drives away, I mean being true peacekeepers in the neighborhood. The good customers will stick around, the bad ones will go hang out elsewhere. The bars on third street should pay for the excess police as a matter of doing business. If they choose to do business on that nightclub street, then they should pay for it. If these people left the bar, and there was a shooting outside immediately, or even in the next ten minutes, I could see the argument that the bar owner is responsible to quiet things down. BUT, this shooting was 90 minutes later. How could the bar owner even know what was going on at that point? Are they supposed to supervise the neighborhood that is LOADED with other bars and clubs just in case these people cause problems? Should they call the police every time they kick someone out of the bar... just in case? The issue is NOT the bar, the issue is the patron. And I dare anyone to look at someone else in a bar and tell me definitely if there is or is not a gun in his/her car. OR in his/her home, which they could easily get to and back in 90 minutes...
I 100% agree with Jeffjay. I live in the Hotel Astor neighborhood. Near me is Monica's and County Clare. County Clare is a wonderful Irish pub, one of my favorite bars in the city, and there has never been any incidents spilling out onto the street from there. That bar in on point. Then there's Monica's. Similar to the basement parties I hung out in in college. I have been personally harassed and felt threatened walking home at night by patrons "hanging out" outside the bar. Have been woken up numerous times by music blaring and obnoxious patrons again hanging out outside the bar on bar premises. Have also had to call the cops because of fights erupting among 6 or more patrons right outside of Monica's. All the while County Clare continues to run a successful bar without disturbing this neighborhood dominated by churches, schools and residents. The difference, County Clare cares about their reputation, respects this neighborhood and the people in it, and takes personal responsibility for keeping their patrons in line inside and out.
I don't get the arguement about bars controlling what goes on outside of their establishments? If two idiots leave Buckhead and head over to the Beer Hall and start shooting at each other outside on the sidewalk, what is the Beer Hall suppsoed to do? It wasn't there fault. It's the city that should step up here.
Of course they should be held responsible. Running a profitable bar that is also is a good neighbor is not easy but operators, that know how, do it consistently without complaints from neighbors and repeated visits from the police.
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