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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wis. Bar Says Police Didn’t Like Hip Hop Patrons

MONONA, Wis. (CN) - The city of Monona suspended the Bourbon Street Grille's liquor license because the bar hosted hip-hop events that attracted a predominantly black audience, the establishment claims in Dane County Court. Police allegedly told the manager to deter black people from booking events by quoting a "discriminatory and prohibitively expensive price" when they called.

The Bourbon Street Grille sued the city for constitutional violations, claiming it relied on the police department's discriminatory view that the bar was a "disorderly house." Police had asked the bar to stop hosting hip-hop events "based on the Police Department's objections to the type of clientele such events attracted," the lawsuit claims.

The police department allegedly lobbied the city to suspend or revoke Bourbon Street Grille's license, and the city council eventually complied.

"Other City of Monona Taverns had required more police services in connection with their unruly patrons than had the Bourbon Street Grille," the bar claims, "but possibly because they did not sponsor events featuring Hip Hop music with predominantly African-American attendees, the City of Monona police department did not request that their liquor license be revoked or suspended."

The Bourbon Street Grille wants the court to reinstate its license, find the defendant in violation of the Constitution and issue an injunction preventing any further interference with the plaintiff's business.

It also demands compensatory damages and legal costs. It is represented by the Jeff Scott Olson Law Firm.

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