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Pompeii gets another day in court

Bronx Times

Pompeii Lounge and Bar has been such a neighborhood problem, that four cops have had to be stationed nearby on weekend nights.

The information was part of the testimony from police officers at the latest hearing for the troubled Waterbury-LaSalle dive bar before the State Liquor Commission.

The two officers also testified before an administrative law judge at a June 27 about a brawl there last March that left one police officer injured.

The judge is weighing testimony on charges of the bar being a “disorderly premise.”

Lieutenant George Morales and Police Officer Christopher Marks testified about their response to a fight they said began as a dispute between a boyfriend and girlfriend on March 6, 2011 inside Pompeii, at 3133 E. Tremont Avenue, and about the amount of police presence needed around the establishment when it closes in the early morning hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Annie Boller attended on behalf of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association.

“Our area has been subjected to shooting, stabbings, fights, drunken screaming, yelling, strewn garbage, blocked driveways, patrons smoking marijuana in their cars or near them, public urination down neighbors driveways, and last but not least, some neighbors had the pleasure of witnessing sex acts in cars parked in front of their homes,” Boller said.

“This is what Pompeii Lounge has brought to our once quiet neighborhood,” Boller said . “Ninety-nine percent of Pompeii’s patrons do not come from our neighborhood.”

A representative from Senator Jeff Klein’s office also attended the hearing.

“I’m pleased that Pompeii’s trial is now fully moving forward,” Klein said. “After all, our community deserves its day in court. As things progress, I will continue working with law enforcement to keep Pompeii on a short leash.”

A hearing on a second disorderly premise charge from October 9, 2011 is scheduled for Friday, July 13 with two to three other 45th Precinct cops scheduled to testify.

The State Liquor Authority is pushing for cancelation or revocation of Pompeii’s liquor licence. Pompeii already has an adverse history stemming from sustained charges from 2010 in other cases.

According to attendees, Marks testified that the streets around Pompeii are a chronic location in the precinct when it comes to quality of life issues, and requires a diversion of police resources for a ‘directed patrol.’

Morales, they said, testified that when he entered Pompeii in uniform on March 6, 2011, he was injured by a patron who tried to break his hand.

Pompeii owner Jose Torres said he believed that Officer Marks testimony showed that Pompeii did its due diligence in stopping a small fight that unfortunately broke out.

Marks had testified that Pompeii’s security was outside trying to disperse the crowd, escort people out, and keep control - all that Pompeii can be expected to do as a bar and lounge, Torres said.

“We are arguing about a small incident, but since then we have changed our entire structure, and have not had incidents since,” Torres said. “It is unfortunate that we have to litigate it.”

Torres said that other bars and restaurants on E. Tremont Avenue and their patrons have been involved in incidents, but that those reports often go without large amounts of media coverage.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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