Local Bar Shut Down

By: Jorge Rodas Email
By: Jorge Rodas Email

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local bar is shut down after the city says owners are breaking the law and putting customers and the community in dangerous situations. Owners say they feel they're being targeted.

The Aviation Lounge on 11th Street just south of Bypass 20 has violated the terms of its liquor license according to the city. It let more than nearly 230 people in it on November 1st according to city inspectors. The license only allows the building to hold 150. The city also says the bar has a dance floor that exceeds it license approved 150 square feet.

Police say the bar attracts crowds that often fight and bring violence to the surrounding areas.

Owners of the bar say the city's claims are baseless and they feel the issue runs deeper than crowd numbers and violence.

"I have mainly an African-American crowd," said owner Brandon Barnes who believe a big reason why the city is going after his business is race.

"We have taken immediate swift action at a variety of businesses," said city attorney Jennifer Cacciapaglia who was offended at the notion that race would ever influence her decisions or actions. "Race has never been a factor or a common denominator."

The bar's owners are going to meet with the city on Thursday. That's where they'll find out if their license will continue to be suspended, revoked completely, or if they can re-open this weekend.

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