Packy Connors gets its license back

But the Boston Licensing Board voted to roll the Blue Hill Avenue bar's closing time back to midnight - and could still revoke its license permanently if police prove the alleged underage shooter in a violent incident outside the bar early Friday was inside the bar moments earlier.

All in favor ...

Packy Connors' supporters showing the licensing board they want the bar to stay open.

Boston Police officials told the licensing board this morning they have at least one witness who would place Charkeem Hyatt, 19, of Dorchester, inside the bar before it closed. They say he had words with somebody there and that he allegedly gunned down a man with whom he had a beef and three women who simply got in his way.

They added that one of the women remains close to death - and that officers on the scene and at least one witness could not be present because they were due to testify before a grand jury that will start looking into the incident this morning.

The board suspended the bar's liquor license in an emergency hearing Friday. Today, board members Daniel Pokaski and Michael Connolly voted to give the bar its license back but with reduced hours, saying the bar seems to become a violence magnet after midnight and because Boston Police now refuse to send detail officers there. Board member Suzanne Ianella voted to give the license back with the old 2 a.m. closing time because the shooting did not occur inside the bar.

The board has held a number of hearings on the bar over the past couple of years, most recently, two weeks ago, over a melee at closing time, but has always let the bar open.

Police Deputy Superintendent Robert Merner said police are called repeatedly to the bar and that it is becoming a drain not just on the local station house but the entire city. He said 111 police officers from every district in the city were called into the investigation, which shut Blue Hill Avenue until after 4 p.m. on Friday and that the city has so far tallied up $17,000 in overtime costs. That doesn't include the inconvenience and cost to neighbors, some of whom found themselves blocked in by the investigation or had trouble getting to work because the avenue was shut.

Police Superintendent David Linskey said he ordered an end to detail assignments at the bar because, "much to my chagrin," he cannot guarantee the safety of his own officers, let alone nearby residents.

"Incident after incident has me concerned about the safety of my officers and the safety of the community," he said.

Cairns
James Cairns

John Russell, lawyer for the bar, said it's unfair to blame the bar for its location in what he called a violent area rife with drug dealing, prostitution and shootings, and that most of the incidents occurred outside the bar. Close Packy Connor's, he said, and the troublemakers would only start showing up at the nearby Breezeway and then, after that was shut, would find some other location to raise hell at. He said Packy Connor's has been in the same location for 70 years and that, unlike other white-owned businesses, did not flee Roxbury in the 1960s or 1970s and that it is a part of many people's lives.

"It's not the establishment that's the problem here, it's the individuals," he said. Linskey, however, disagreed, giving the board a copy of a Harvard study he said showed that bar owners can have a dramatic effect on crime problems near their establishments.

A number of bar patrons attended the meeting to support owner James Cairns and his son Packy, who runs the bar. Several said they were in the bar Friday morning testified they neither heard nor saw anything untoward inside the bar.

Packy Cairns said he personally checked every single person who came in after midnight and that he does not recall seeing Hyatt. He acknowledged Hyatt could have entered the bar before then, but said the bar's nine bouncers are vigilant about checking for ID.

Two nearby residents testified they are tired of the constant crime and related problems they say is associated with the bar.

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    Comments

    110 officers? Seriously?

    By on

    What on earth were they doing that they needed 110 officers?!

    edt's

    By on

    all olice units have edt and when something major happens they are called in for instance when b2 needs help they call on b3 or c11 but it this case all precints were called with 2-6 officers from each prcint being edt's so add em up A1,A7,A15,B2,B3,C6,C11,D4,D14,E5,E13,E18+SWAT AND K9 to search for guns

    Large search area

    By on

    In addition to the area right in front of the bar where Hyatt allegedly opened fire, there was another scene on, I think, Ingleside, where officers started firing at him (didn't hit him) when he allegedly kept raising his gun as if he were about to shoot. There was also the house where they allegedly found him hiding on a porch.

    Merner said police recovered 56 pieces of ballistic evidence.

    In addition to police, EMS also responded as did the Fire Department.

    Tough crowd

    By on

    What he was basically saying was every single police district has some officers on each shift designated for emergency response to a particular crime scene. And then he named every district in BPD - all of whom in this case sent officers over to B-2, um, Roxbury.

    Is it fair to say that if

    Is it fair to say that if this happened in front of Centerfolds, the city would shut them down before the smoke cleared? These people are connected big-time.

    in all fairness, no

    By on

    ...because oddly, the community seems to love Packy's, whereas Chinatown residents despise Centerfolds.