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State charges Dot. Ave. bar tries to keep blacks, Cape Verdeans out

The state Attorney General's office said today it's sued Peggy O'Neil's, 1310 Dorchester Ave., for alleged civil-rights violations.

The suit alleges that on at least three occasions - the most recent this past April - bouncers made a point of keeping minorities out while letting in whites. The state alleges that on one night in December, bar owner Caron O'Neil herself blocked two men of Cape Verdean and African-American descent from entering, telling them she did not "want any trouble." Then later that night:

A second group of friends of Cape Verdean, Spanish and African American descent went to the bar and were also allegedly denied entry by bar staff. Bar staff asked them for their identification cards which they provided. The bouncer allegedly asked them if they knew the owner of the bar and who they were there to see. At the same time, other Caucasian customers were allowed to enter the bar, many of whom appeared to be intoxicated. According to the lawsuit, Ms. O’Neil told the group that they could not come in the bar because they did not know the bar"s owner. She allegedly stated to them, "You don't look like the type of people" the owner would know and "we don't like people of your kind here" among other statements.

The state is seeking an end to the practice and monetary damages.

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Comments

bucket of blood
I know 2 different people who have gotten beaten up inside or just outside the bar.
Funny that the owner would discriminate seeing as how she is lesbian and very large, both traits that draw discrimination of their own.

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Wow.

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Surprised? Boston IS NOT a "world class city", and the residents of many neighborhoods are happy about that fact.

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Yeah, I am. And disappointed in my city.

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what type of monetary damages would they be entitled to? to get drunk and spend money? if convicted the bar owner should be obligated to contribute to causes against discrimination and to enrich herself with foreign culture..

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Enough to make it worth the while of others to perceive racial bias whether or not there is any.

Next time a club doorman says nuh-uh to my frumpy self, you KNOW it's civil rights lawsuit time!

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Sounds like there is more to the story when the second group showed up like they were looking to start trouble. As a person of color I can understand the neighbor hood bars concept. Used to go to packys bar a hangout for police and court workers till the thugs destroy it.

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If I am dressed in suit and tie and paying big bucks for a meal I dont want to have to sit next to a bum in jeans but thats just me they should have dress codes. If you are dressed well you pay well and are less likely to start trouble. I need to hear the whole story before passing judgement.Used to be a bouncer and if you know the people that are coming in you let them go in. strange people with additudes you screen them. Just like you would do at your own home.

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Good question. Probably why you don't see a lot of cases like this being taken by private attorneys - not worth the $.

Statute allows for emotional distress damages, but it's hard to think of how you'd prove any significant distress from being shut out of a bar. Punitive damages and/or civil penalties are also possible.

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Nasty business. Good to see Coakley taking this stuff seriously.

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The O'Neil family are very good people - every one of them. Drop by the bar any day/night of the week before casting judgment. It's a very diverse crowd - young, old, black, white, brown, asian, gay, straight. The bar has one of the few 2am licenses in Dorchester - last call can be a nightmare for the people at the door.

It's a huge challenge to run a bar - who knows what was happening that night before these people were refused entry.

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Why all this matters? If you have a public business, it must be public. Period.

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The fashionable nightclubs have to let me in?

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Mr. Walsh?

Sorry, Poindexter, but per the Supreme Court, nerds are not a protected class. :)

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Wrong, Swirrly.
Businesses have the right to refuse service.
Ever hear of a dress code?
That refusal just can't be based on discrimination.

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At one point in the 90s, clubs were banning Fubu, Sean John and other labels commonly worn by black patrons.

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Discrimination on what? Using that word as shorthand is ambiguous, when you could mean "discrimination based on race", "discrimination against some set of protected groups", "discrimination based on whether they're locals", "discrimination based on how much we like the person", "discrimination based on whether or not they've smashed up the place previously", "discrimination based on metallurgic analysis"...

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From the MCAD website:

What is Discrimination?
Discrimination is unfair treatment because of an individual's membership in a particular group.

Pretty unambiguous to me.
I didn't use it as shorthand- it's a legal term.

You're sniping and my point still stands- public businesses do not in fact have to be open to the entire public.
And yes, dress codes can be use to discriminate- that's (illegal) discrimination, not a legit (and legal) dress code.

Clear?

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