Licensing Commission Holds Hearing on Function Hall Camera Issues

The Licensing Commission handed out a two-day suspension for Emiliana Fiesta on Fourth Street at its meeting last week, but that suspension will be held in abeyance for six months, and will not have to be served if there are no further violations at the function hall.

Licensing Commission Chair Marnie MacAlpine said there have been no previous issues at the establishment, and that it also acted to update its video surveillance system.

Last week’s hearing stemmed from a November incident at Emiliana’s when police were called in to help break up a fight involving about 40 people.

The department requested the hearing before the Licensing Commission because it did not meet the license requirements for having 30 days of video on hand.

The restaurant owners noted that while it did have a video surveillance system, it did not save the video for 30 days. They stated that they had updated the equipment, and were also in the process of installing an additional camera at the rear of the property, as recommended by the police department.

While MacAlpine said she was concerned about the camera issue, she said she was also concerned about the establishment having an incident where the police needed to be called.

“It sounds like with that type of incident, we may have had some folks who were overserved,” she said.

Emiliana manager Denisse Chino said that the people involved in the incident were likely rival gang members attending a function at the facility. She said the incident did not start until the bar had closed and Emiliana’s was turning on the lights and beginning to shut down for the night.

Chino said there were three security people on duty who tried to break up the fight, but that it was hard to do because of the number of people involved. She also noted that security checks people for weapons before entering the hall.

“We have security for every event, and I think learning from this, we need to hire more security at the bars and at the exit doors,” Chino said.

Police Chief Keith Hougton said he would have felt more comfortable if the employees had been able to contact police sooner before tensions got out of hand.

In other business, the commission approved a change of owner and manager for One Stop Liquors at 141 Central Ave., as well as a transfer of a malt and wine license for JV Market at 560 Washington Ave.

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