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Roxbury bar ordered shut for two weeks over closing-time brawl that took 25 cops to break up

The Boston Licensing Board voted yesterday to suspend the liquor license of the Breezeway, 153 Blue Hill Ave., for two weeks for an April 4 mini-riot that left two cops surrounded by an angry mob before reinforcements could arrive.

At a hearing on Tuesday, board Chairman Daniel Pokaski told owner Christ Stamatos he was sick of Stamatos's inability to control closing-time crowds and told him he was lucky the April 4 brawl didn't result in any serious injuries. As it was, one police officer had to give up trying to arrest one alleged troublemaker when the crowd surrounded him.

The board did not set a specific date for the punishment to begin. Stamatos can appeal the decision to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The Tuesday hearing was the third in as many weeks for various infractions at the bar, which seems to have become more of a Blue Hill Avenue trouble spot after the board rolled back the hours at the nearby Packy Connors following a quadruple shooting outside that bar.

At a hearing on a November fight between two gang members who bumped into each other inside the bar, a BPD sergeant said the troublemakers who used to hang out at Packy Connors had shifted to the Breezeway and other locations.

In addition to owning the bar, Stamatos specializes in buying up foreclosed apartments.

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Comments

Adam, could you compare this punishment to that doled out to Packy Connors, and maybe more importantly the Revolution Rock Bar, for license violations involving violence? As I recall, someone was shot outside the RRB, and then there was an effort to destroy evidence; was there any punishment handed down?

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Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention to the licensing board when the Revolution shooting took place, so don't know.

As for Packy Connors: That quadruple shooting was at closing early on a Friday, the board voted that day to shut it immediately, but then voted voted the Monday after to let it reopen - but with a rollback in its closing time from 2 a.m. to midnight. Board member Suzanne Ianella didn't even want to roll the hours back because the shootings happened outside the bar. This came after that bar had also been before the board numerous times for violations that were so numerous that Boston Police would no longer let its officers work details there. Also, 110 officers from across the city, not just Roxbury, ultimately responded to the shooting.

Why the difference? Partly there was a question as to whether the shooter was actually in the bar (police said he was; bar said he wasn't), although that was a question in the most recent Breezeway case as well (i.e., whether the brawlers were bar patrons or people just in the area). So I don't know. I didn't attend the meeting yesterday where the board decided what to do, unfortunately.

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I'd do the research myself, but then I'm not the defender of truth that you are, thanks partly to your super powers of... but now I've already said too much.

But seriously: Not that beating up a cop is a minor offense, but it seems odd that places that seem to be hosting actual shootings seem to be getting off with fairly light punishment, and I'm wondering if that has to do with the connections (or lack thereof) of the owners, or the color (or lack thereof) of the surrounding neighborhood. Again, not making a judgement either way about a two-week closure in this case; I just don't see where it fits in on the scale of shootings/stabbings, some of them fatal, which don't seem to lead to serious punishment, if any.

Also-- and maybe this is a question for Pete Nice-- where is the line drawn between incidents in which the violent act in question happens inside the bar, vs. the accident involves patrons of said bar but happens outside, for one reason or another?

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