Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City fighting with clubs to stop fighting at clubs

28. August 2007 • Chuck Warpehoski
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Two stabbings in two months outside of nightclubs is enough for Ann Arbor, according to the Ann Arbor News.

What could the city do? They are looking into declaring some bars and clubs “public nuisances,” which would pave the way for the city to ask judges to close them.



  1. There is a hint of Big Brother at the end of the article where it says “In an e-mail sent to the DDA Board, the DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay wrote that the police would like the DDA to consider installing cameras in downtown parking garages that could get license plates of cars when they exit.

    Pollay said it would help police with investigations.”


       —Tom Brandt    Aug. 28 '07 - 03:44PM    #
  2. I for one welcome our new CCTV overlords.


       —Fred Zimmerman    Aug. 28 '07 - 04:58PM    #
  3. The fights and stabbings are incurring in the streets. The article states that the city is looking at 5 different bars that could be declared “public nuisances”. If they close down 5 bars, who thinks the crowd of 200 wouldn’t just go to another bar down the street? When the police arrived to break up the crowd, no arrests were made and no citations were given. If the police can’t do anything, what can the club/bar owners do? Is the club/bar serving too much alcohol to their customers? There’s no mention of that, but if so, the owners should be held accountable. Otherwise, if the police or courts take any action, it should be against the individuals who congregate in the streets after the club/bar closes. Putting a legitimate business owner out of business for a situation which is occurring outside its premises after closing does not seem fair at all nor conducive to attracting new business or downtown residents.


       —Karen Luck    Aug. 28 '07 - 06:17PM    #
  4. Lowenstein says that the problem lies with bars failing to notify police of potential problems and instead simply kicking out the problematic customers. If an assault hasn’t yet occurred in the bar and the staff have to go on a gut feeling each time they believe that something could happen or every time they have to ask a patron to leave, one could assume that would result in a tremendous amount of police visits to many bars on a given evening. The owners will cover their butts but wouldn’t this strain police resources?


       —Sam    Aug. 28 '07 - 07:40PM    #
  5. “Putting a legitimate business owner out of business for a situation which is occurring outside its premises after closing does not seem fair at all nor conducive to attracting new business or downtown residents.”

    I think allowing an atmosphere of out-of-control criminal behavior to spill out of businesses and onto the downtown streets is going to be the bigger deterrent to attracting (and retaining) businesses and residents. I don’t think anyone wants to see it get to the point where it did with some Detroit clubs where people were shot and killed before the city and county stepped in to shut things down. This is probably more about sabre-rattling to get the attention of these club owners. The violence almost always starts in the clubs. Pushing it out into the street doesn’t get the club owners off the hook.


       —John Q.    Aug. 28 '07 - 07:49PM    #
  6. This phenomena of large crowds hanging out in the streets is not limited to situations that start in clubs and gets pushed into the streets. Same thing happened at the Strawberry festival in Belleville this year and I think I remember something similar after another local carnival. Large groups of people are having a good time and don’t want to go home. They suggested that the Strawberry Fest be canceled next year because people wouldn’t leave. What’s up with this behavior? Are we going to close everything until people learn to leave when an event is over or an establishment is closed?


       —Karen Luck    Aug. 28 '07 - 08:04PM    #
  7. Great title for the article, Chuck.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 28 '07 - 08:37PM    #
  8. Forget the clubs – I want the city to go after Dale Newman as a public nuisance. Every building he owns seems to be dilapidated, shoddy, and in the arrears on taxes or utilities. They are much more of a nuisance and endangerment to the health, safety, and welfare of the public than any of these clubs! Given his history, it is appalling that the City didn’t catch this issue with the student apartments before move-in day.


       —KGS    Aug. 28 '07 - 09:44PM    #
  9. Why would they go to the trouble of the ‘public nuisance’ nonsense, and expose themselves to lawsuits.

    All that they’d have to do is deny/revoke their yearly ‘cabaret permit’. Problem solved.


       —todd    Aug. 29 '07 - 03:47AM    #
  10. Two stabbings in two months? Is that a lot? That’s like about 8 weeks between stabbings, isn’t it? That seems less frequent than the high school I went to, and they didn’t even serve alcohol.

    How exactly is taking a picture of everyone’s license plate going to stop the stabbings?

    I’m thinking the cops want to close some of the bars, so that the patrons will have to drive a greater distance to find a bar. Of course, then after they get tanked up, they’ll have a longer drive home, and the cops will have a better chance at catching them.

    I’m also predicting that if some of the bars are closed, it will cause even more fighting because the drunks will have farther to drive, and will be forced to car-pool with each other. Drunks can find a lot of things to fight about when they’re all cooped up in an automobile, close together—like where to pee, and how much and what kind of beer to get. The fighting will escalate and those bars will have to be shut down, too.

    But I could be wrong about these things.


       —Michael Schils    Aug. 29 '07 - 06:22AM    #
  11. Todd, has your indie-rock jukebox and organic beer incited any violence to date?


       —Brandon    Aug. 29 '07 - 09:31PM    #
  12. Heh. Nope. Thankfully. We’ve never had a fight in our place. I can recall a couple of ‘shoving’ incidents, but no straight up fights. We’re not exactly a biker-bar, though.

    Although there was this time when there were a few SNRE grad students down playing risk. One kid, who was either wound too tight from classwork, or had had one too many beers, totally freaked out, and yelled that the other players were “picking on him” spilled his beer on the board, and stormed out.

    The other kids apologized profusely and offered to pay for the board. I was laughing way to hard to take their money, and told them that getting to watch some nearly 30 year old student to throw a fit over Risk by decimating his plastic “armies” was easily worth the cost of a $12 board game.

    That pretty much sums up the rough and tumble world of Leopold Bros. in a nutshell.

    (Hint: Europe is the key in Risk!)


       —todd    Aug. 29 '07 - 11:04PM    #
  13. Heh. Nope. Thankfully. We’ve never had a fight in our place. I can recall a couple of ‘shoving’ incidents, but no straight up fights. We’re not exactly a biker-bar, though.

    Although there was this time when there were a few SNRE grad students down playing Risk. One kid, who was either wound too tight from classwork, or had had one too many beers, totally freaked out, and yelled that the other players were “picking on him” spilled his beer on the board, and stormed out.

    The other kids apologized profusely and offered to pay for the board. I was laughing way to hard to take their money, and told them that getting to watch some nearly 30-year-old student to throw a fit over Risk by decimating his plastic “armies” was easily worth the cost of a $12 board game.

    That pretty much sums up the rough and tumble world of Leopold Bros. in a nutshell.

    (Hint: Europe is the key in Risk!)


       —todd    Aug. 29 '07 - 11:06PM    #
  14. Todd, you and your double speak.

    Actually, I just wanted to say australia is the key to risk. If you can hold it and work your armies up via southern asia you have a 2 bonus continent that can only be attacked if they get through your armies in asia. Also, keep a presence in south america too, it lets you keep anyone from controlling america or africa. Then you let people like todd scramble to hold europe while the rest of the players attack him/her.


       —just a voice    Aug. 30 '07 - 11:19AM    #
  15. And they say you can’t learn anything on Arbor Update.

    File this thread away for future use, folks.


       —todd    Aug. 30 '07 - 01:50PM    #
  16. Australia is easily defendable as well. Always a fan.

    I guess its no coincidence that all the bars where fights seem to breed are all the lamest ones in town. Does bad taste breed violence?


       —Brandon    Aug. 30 '07 - 02:05PM    #
  17. I’ll weigh in in favor of Australia, too.


       —Dale    Aug. 30 '07 - 02:25PM    #
  18. I’ll weigh in in favor of Axis & Allies.

    You lightweights and your Risk…


       —Murph.    Aug. 30 '07 - 04:49PM    #
  19. Who’s the bigger nerd: the guy who brings up Axis & Allies, or the guy who knows exactly what Axis & Allies is.

    We had a copy here. WAYYYYY too involved for a night at Leopold’s.


       —todd    Aug. 30 '07 - 04:54PM    #
  20. todd – some of my uncles have played A&A so many times that they will sometimes set the game up 2-3 turns in from the “start” positions. “Because those are the obvious moves; this way we can get to the interesting decisions faster.” They, my friend, are the bigger nerds.


       —Murph    Aug. 30 '07 - 05:00PM    #
  21. Whatabout a nice, peaceful game of Diplomacy?


       —matth    Sep. 2 '07 - 06:14AM    #
  22. Matt, I’d be totally there. Except Leopolds doesn’t have long enough hours on any given day to play a game of Diplomacy.

    (I love how this thread has escalated from “street brawls outside of clubs” to “world wars within clubs”...)


       —Murph.    Sep. 2 '07 - 01:18PM    #
  23. Also, the other patrons would probably be curious at all the conversations happening in corners.

    We usually play Diplomacy over a semester, a couple hours at a time.

    / so off-topic


       —matth    Sep. 2 '07 - 04:55PM    #
  24. Risk—

    Europe: no way! N. America is the key.

    A&A—

    Murph: have your uncles played the revised edition?


       —Young Urban Amateur    Sep. 2 '07 - 05:06PM    #
  25. YUA – doubt it; I think they have several copies of it from the mid-80s (like, 5 copies between two of them), and did enough game acquisition during the 80s that they don’t do much now.

    matth – let me know if you have an opening in a game; I have difficulty getting people to even consider Dip., so rarely get to play.


       —Murph.    Sep. 2 '07 - 07:16PM    #
  26. Axis and Allies? Piker. What Leopold Bros. really needs is a copy of Supremacy…


       —Marc R.    Sep. 7 '07 - 01:25AM    #
  27. Maybe we can get city council declared a “public nuisance” and get them shut down.

    Crackpot knee-jerk reactionaries with no real understanding of the problems they face, much less the ability to find actual solutions.

    In society you happen to have a certain number of jerks who feel it is their right, their privilege to act irresponsibly.

    To hold club owners liable for their actions is ludicrous!

    Get real!


       —James C. Crawford    Sep. 8 '07 - 09:11PM    #
  28. Oh you and all your complicated, fancy-pants games! Give me Chutes & Ladders anytime after a night of drinking. Or the occasional Operation :)


       —TeacherPatti    Sep. 8 '07 - 09:15PM    #
  29. Mr. Crawford:

    If a person gets drunk at a bar and later causes an accident the bar can be sued by the victim. The law has held bars responsible for the actions of overly intoxicated patrons an hour after they left the establishment and miles away.

    Why then can a bar not be held responsible if they repeatedly create a public nuisance that endangers their patrons and other members of the public? Why not work to get the bar to alter their practices to mitigate the problem? Seems like this is all the city is trying to do. Preventing stabbings sounds like a good idea to me.


       —LauraB    Sep. 9 '07 - 10:50AM    #
  30. And… the discussion comes full-circle again, from drunk people cutting other people outside of clubs, to tipsy Patti cutting up that poor Operation guy inside Leopolds. Oh, the humanity.


       —MDS    Sep. 11 '07 - 07:55PM    #
  31. Hey Todd,

    Any west coast distro on your gin? It’s tasty, I miss it.


       —js    Sep. 11 '07 - 08:15PM    #
  32. Nope, not just yet. Next spring, perhaps. The furthest west you’ll find our wares is Colorado.

    Of course, you could always ask a good local LA Liquor store to stock our stuff, and they’ll ask one of their good, small distributors to look into our portfolio.

    And, of course, I’d really appreciate such an effort.


       —todd    Sep. 12 '07 - 09:16PM    #
  33. LauraB

    As far as drunken driving goes, if it can be proven that a bar has not taken reasonable steps to keep from serving an intoxicated person, then yes, they can be held liable. If a bar owner can show that they took reasonable steps to keep from serving a person who was obviously intoxicated then, no.

    Bars are legally required to not allow obviously intoxicated persons into the bar and not to serve someone who is intoxicated. The idea that the bar should be responsible for an adult individual’s actions for any set time period after they leave the establishment is unenforceable and not very well thought out.

    Also, I would point out that it is an apples & oranges argument. Serving an intoxicated person vs. someone who acts irresponsibly, regardless of the level of intoxication. Entirely different situation and circumstances.

    “Why not work to get the bar to alter their practices to mitigate the problem?” Just what practices would you alter? Serving near beer and sasparilla?

    Since when is it the bars job or duty to mind it’s customers conduct once they leave the premises? There is such a thing as constitutional rights still in this country.

    What are bar owners and staff supposed to do; follow them home, hold their hand, perhaps handcuff them and call a cab or a cop?

    They not only have no obligation to do so, they have no right!

    Many bars in Ann Arbor already have security systems set up to protect themselves and their customers. They have procedures to keep their customers safe and will go above & beyond what they are obligated to do in order to protect their patrons. But the idea of obligating them to act upon anyones person outside of the bar is not only ludicrous, as I pointed out earlier, but it is illegal.

    You must not know much about Ann Arbor history, or you would know that one of the primary reasons the Ann Arbor Police Dept. was set up for in the first place was to handle unruly students in the saloons on main street.

    Much of the blame for violence can be traced to students in this town, believe it or not. Many of the people involved in the violence are students. Why not hold the university accountable for the actions of their students?

    How far do you want to take it?

    What the city is trying to do is get the responsibility off of their shoulders.

    This sort of thing is not new in this town, but all of a sudden you want to make owners of clubs, many of whom already take extraordinary measures to protect themselves and their patrons responsible for adults behavior in public streets!

    Ludicrous!


       —James C. Crawford    Sep. 13 '07 - 10:17AM    #