Spokesman for bar shut down by emergency order calls it scapegoating

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The operators of a Rochester bar shut down as the city confronts its wave of homicides say they’re getting a raw deal.

On Thursday, Mayor Lovely Warren authorized the police to close businesses with a history of nuisance violations and have been the scene of a shooting.

One of the first places targeted was the Black Bear Pub on West Ridge Road where a man was shot and killed last weekend.

"It’s being used as a scapegoat. I think it’s being used as a scapegoat,” exclaimed the pub’s guest services manager, Tim Ragland.

Ragland said when a man was shot and killed in the parking lot out back over the weekend, the bar had been working for months to straighten out its issues.

But the notice from Rochester Police now taped on the door says the Bear must shut down under the city’s gun violence state of emergency.

Mayor Lovely Warren’s new order authorizes police to close any businesses that have been the scene of a shooting in the past 30 days and whose violations add up to 12 nuisance points over the past six months or 18 nuisance points over the past year.

The Black Bear has 26 nuisance points.

"It’s not fair. It’s not fair, any of it,” Ragland said.

"Violence has been going on for two years over there,” declared Richard Scorse, owner of the California Brew Haus a few doors down on West Ridge Road. “I’ve been here 52 years and we’ve never had this much trouble.”

Scorse said the wild scene in the parking lot that deadly night was not unusual, but actually all too common, to the point that he’s been forced to change his closing time from 2 a.m. to midnight so his customers and employees can avoid the dangerous late-night chaos.

"Fighting in the parking lot, stabbings in the parking lot, people getting shot, guns going off all the time, shooting in the air. The police respond all the time,” he said.

Ragland said the police have not responded and didn’t come when the Black Bear called 911 before the weekend shooting happened in what he points out is a city parking lot.

“I think that we need to have a better police presence in this area,” Ragland said.

He said the bar’s owners want to work with the city to be safer and get reopened.

Scorse said this block of West Ridge Road feels safer now.

“I hate to see any business go down but, if you don’t care about your business, this is what happens,” he said.