A closing-time fight that left two cops surrounded by a couple dozen brawlers outside the Breezeway on April 4 could be the final straw for the bar, which has now had three hearings in three weeks on various incidents before the Boston Licensing Board.
"Why does your licensed premise deserve to have basically every officer in that district policing your premise when it closes?" board Chairman Daniel Pokaski asked owner Christ Stamatos at a hearing this morning. "You can't control your crowd, it's as simple as that. You can't do it."
Boston Police Lt. Eric Eversley told the board that around 2:14 a.m., officers found 20 to 25 people right outside the bar brawling, with several smaller groups of fighters surrounding that. Officers tried to break up the crowd and when the crowd turned on them, radioed for backup.
Eversley said one officer had to let one person he was trying to arrest go when a woman started punching him from behind and he noticed the crowd moving toward him. Ultimately, it took 25 officers to break everything up. Only two people were arrested, on charges of assault and battery on a police officer.
Stamatos acknowledged the fight, said he did his best that night - he had six male and two female bouncers on duty - and that it was just one of those things.
David Eastman, a patron who left just as the fights were breaking out, told the board it was unfair to blame the Breezeway for trouble caused by patrons of other bars, both nearby and as far away as downtown, who slow down in the area on their way home or to other locales at that particular stretch of Blue Hill Avenue. "It's going to happen downtown, uptown, the suburbs wherever it's going to be. [Stamatos] tries to control it the best he can with the staff he has. If not him, it would be someone else."
Pokaski was having none of it. He said there are 1,000 other establishments with city licenses and none regularly require the attention of an entire police district at closing time. He said Stamatos was incredibly lucky nobody was seriously hurt and said if Stomatos is going to release customers "all fueled up," then "you've got to pay the price for it."
The board will decide Thursday what action, if any, to take. The board could suspend the bar's license for a number of days, revoke it completely or require earlier closing hours. Outright revocation might be unlikely given the precedent of Packy Connors down the street: Even after four people were shot right outside, the board voted only to roll back its hours.