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City after First Street bar in wake of rough St. Pat’s weekend

SNOHOMISH —  Two hostile crowd incidents that flooded First Street during both nights of St. Patrick’s Day weekend has prompted the city to ask for quicker adjudication against the Time Out Sports Bar.
The bar is being pinned to the incidents. That weekend, seven were arrested and one night police had to disperse people with pepper spray.
Time Out, at 921 First Street, is scheduled to have a liquor license revocation hearing on July 24, nearly two years after officials requested the state liquor board take action. A letter the city sent last week to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board registers the city’s latest concerns and also asks to accelerate the time line.
Police anticipated St. Patrick’s Day weekend to be rowdier than usual. Police Chief John Flood put a second officer on the foot beat to beef up security.
Things went smoothly up until approximately midnight Friday, March 17, Flood said.
When police tried breaking up a fight on the sidewalk between the Time Out and the Oxford after midnight a crowd of 50 to 70 people “surrounded my deputies and became very aggressive,” Flood said, adding how the crowd became defiant about not wanting to step back.
Pepper spray flew. The deputy was targeting specific people after the crowd ignored multiple warnings about being sprayed, Flood said.
The following night, police encountered more unruly people around Time Out, Flood said, and another fight on the sidewalk brought out a similarly sized large crowd.
During this incident, somebody tried to drag a deputy to the ground by grabbing onto him, and wouldn’t let go after being warned.
Both fights were on the sidewalk between the Time Out and the Oxford, and hostile patrons largely spilled out of these establishments, Flood said.
A call to Time Out co-owner Brent Nerby for comment was not returned by deadline.
Police staff have met with the owners of the Time Out and the liquor board “to try and plan for a safe environment along First Street,” Flood said.
“The increased incidents of drunken behavior and aggressive crowds toward law enforcement is very concerning to me and the City Council,” Flood said.
The Snohomish Time Out previously was under rocky terms and has a license appeal hearing set for this July.
The prior license revocation request was about people being overserved in the bar. That request was made before the September 2015 fight that filled the street. In that incident, a deputy was hurt after a father jumped into the scene while his son was being arrested.
The crowd was agitated that September night by the arrest in part because it is commonly believed it started after a plainsclothed liquor board compliance agent got into an argument with that patron. The fight started outside Time Out after the patron was served inside.
The city’s letter registers concerns with patrons being overserved alcohol.
“At this time we urge the Board to take notice of the egregious violations of license requirements in this matter and to consider the evidence of poor management practices and over-service that have led to incidents of violent, intoxicated behavior by patrons at this bar,” the city’s letter reads.
The city is also asking to accelerate the timeframe, but acknowledges that this may be unlikely: The attorney general’s office handles license revocation hearings and it’s understood that the point person for license issues has a busy case load.
The city may possibly use the St. Patrick’s Day incidents to mount enough facts to make it the tipping point to ask
to have Time Out’s liquor license suspended, city manager Larry Bauman said told the City Council week.
The city has other strategies about curtailing Time Out, Bauman told the paper, but didn’t want to disclose details.
“We know what the problem is, and now we want to know what the solution is,” Bauman said.
The City Council authorized the letter unanimously last week.
The July 24 license hearing comes after Kla Ha Ya Days and other big drinking weekends, but
Flood told the council is doesn’t raise concerns. “We will continue efforts.”
The Police Department has increased its foot patrol squad to have four people on it for the time being, Flood said.

Smoking citations
Police officers on the First Street beat foot patrol will now actively cite people seen smoking within 25 feet of building doors and windows. They used to usually just give warnings.
The strategy is to help clear out crowding around the doorways of certain drinking establishments, Flood said.
Flood ordered that anyone smoking too close to the door or window to be issued an infraction.
State voters approved the full indoor smoking ban and boundary areas in 2005.

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