Did large police response to a fight at a Mattapan club help quiet things down or make them worse?

Police and the owners of Macumba Latina, 477 River St., agree that around 1:45 a.m. on April 28, a punch was thrown, a man was bloodied and scores of club goers emptied into the street.

But other than that, the two sides painted dramatically different versions of the incident at a Boston Licensing Hearing this morning, called to consider a police citation for "a large fight, patron on patron."

Police said it took large numbers of officers from three different Boston districts and State Police to quell what they said was a fight that kept starting up despite the initial presence of two BPD officers right outside the club.

Through their attorney, owners Max Fernandes and John Lopes said the fight was a small one involving only six or eight men - and but a single punch, that they broke it up quickly and that the "chaos" described by a police sergeant was really caused by the large numbers of cruisers parked on narrow River Street right at closing time.

Police on the scene estimated some 150 people poured into River Street as the fight broke out inside and continued outside and that it took 15 to 20 minutes to clear the street. Sgt. Thomas Kearney of B-3 and Lt. Stephen Meade of the BPD licensing division said officers are now routinely stationed outside the club at closing time due to a series of smaller incidents.

Kearney acknowledged only one arrest, that of a man who, on getting into his car at the MBTA parking lot across the street, refused a police order to turn right onto River rather than left.

Attorney William Rehry said the 150 people were leaving not because of the fight but because it was closing time, the club had turned on the lights and had stopped serving drinks.

Lopes himself said he saw the altercation, that only one punch was thrown, and that he and security guards quickly separated the parties and had the punch thrower stay in the kitchen while the attacked man and his friends were escorted outside.

Even though they do not think they did anything wrong, Fernandes told the licensing board that, as a result of the incident, the club has canceled its "international night" of hip hop, reggae and soca and gone back to its more traditional Latin-music fare. "We don't need this kind of trouble," he said.

He added that since the incident, he has met with police and scheduled a meeting with neighbors to try to see what else the club can do to avoid a repeat. Rehry said that, in the club's nine years in operations, this is the first time it's ever been cited for "a large fight."

Kearney said the club should do a better job of policing crowds at closing time and have workers help direct traffic then.

Lopes said club security - who included one packing a gun - normally do just that, but that on that night, they retreated inside when they saw the large number of cops outside, figuring the police would be handling traffic.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take.

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    Comments

    They all close at the same time!

    By on

    Theproblem is that all bars close between 12MD 9the early ones) and 2AM. In that time frame, that when the disturbances occur.

    Staggered closing hours would help this situation.

    Also, because 6 guys get into a fight..NO ONE can have a 3AM closing time? Dumb Logic!

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    I side with the BPD on this one

    By on

    Police said it took large numbers of officers from three different Boston districts and State Police to quell what they said was a fight that kept starting up despite the initial presence of two BPD officers right outside the club.

    There is a tremendous amount of area integrity and personal pride on the police force. Very doubtful BPD would be calling for help from other districts and the State Police if it wasn't truly necessary. Sounds like revisionist history by the bar's attorney.

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    Really Tho!

    By on

    I do not agree with what was said by this Club owner. One should not make such a general statement, just because you had a bad experience. That kind of ignorance can lead to repercussions that effect the night life of our Whole City.. If the People of Boston genuinely want a later closing time. A bit responsibility is required. The bottom line is patrons are your bread & butter. But patrons cause many, if not all the altercations that occur in clubs. and very seldom do they take the blame for there action that is left for the establishment..

    Taking Responsibility For Your Own Actions

    By on

    I cant for the life of me understand why people do or move the way they do...... We are all adults to carry yourself with such behavior is shameful!!! Having a place to relax enjoy good music food etc. in a safe environment is all we want so why when we have that its taking away so easily because of a selective few who cant seem to get it together??? If the venu has done all it can to insure the safety of the patrons and the patrons themselves turn around and cause a crisis then instead of closing the place (which by the way doesnt change how the patrons act) why not make the patrons pay for their own actions (repeat offender a city ban of all venus) (A fine heavy enough to make them get the picture) (community service teach the young what being a hothead could lead to) jus to name a few....... I love my city and everyone in it im just tired of suffering because a selective few!!!!!!!! Figure out how to get the "Bad Apples" out so the "Good" can enjoy the way we suppose to!!!!!!!!