City Council Addresses Issues at Whiskey Bones

Posted at: 04/01/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 04/02/2013 12:19 AM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) – After a bar fight involving nearly 30 people, Rochester City Council is taking action against a popular bar. That fight was the latest in a number of violent outbursts at Whiskey Bones Roadhouse.

City council gathered Monday to decide whether or not to have a public hearing on safety concerns there. This came after a lengthy discussion Monday afternoon with council members, police, and other city leaders.

In just one weekend, police say there was a fight that lead to a shooting. The next day, there was a brawl with 30 people.

"That's exceedingly rare in Rochester which is a good thing and it’s serious enough where I felt we had an obligation to look at it further," said city council member Michael Wojcik.

They put the owner of the bar in the hot seat and tried to figure out why it’s a problem and what to do form here.

Their number one question, why weren't police called right away? "We'd much rather hear about problems before their big problems, before serious crimes happen, and certainly before somebody gets hurt," said Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson.

Chief Peterson says it's not that they have more calls from Whiskey Bones. Some bars downtown actually have more, but those are on things like disorderly conduct, before it’s gotten out of control. At Whiskey Bones, there more assault calls.

"What is a problem, is when things happen and they're not corrected and bigger problems develop and that's really where our focus is," said Chief Peterson.

At the meeting they encouraged the owner to call the police more often, and to work with them on an outlined security plan. “Either a closer working relationship with the police department or better trained security staff," said city council member Randy Staver.

Some were ok with starting there, but others on city council wanted to go a step further, requesting a public hearing so those affected by this have a say. "I don't want to send a message to the community that your first 30 person riot is ok and the second one we'll start taking some action," said Wojcik.

No matter the outcome, everyone agrees on the same thing. "We're all looking for a positive outcome. We're not out to put a small business out of business. We all want a safe business for our community and think our citizens deserve that," said Staver.

The owner of the bar refused to talk to us on camera today. We'll let you know if they voted in favor of holding a public meeting on the issue, on ABC 6 News Good Morning at 5am.