Sports Page shooting aftermath: Bar faces fines, may lose license

Online Staff Report

In anticipation of a Dec. 11 hearing with the City of Rockford Liquor Advisory Board, City Attorney Patrick Hayes and Assistant City Attorney II Angela Hammer met with representatives of the Joe’s Sports Page, LTD (Sports Page bar), 3907 Broadway, Rockford, to discuss a pre-hearing settlement.

As a result of the pre-hearing meetings, the owners of the Sports Page and the City of Rockford have agreed that the Sports Page will:

Continue their seven-day suspension, which will conclude on Dec. 15, 2014;

The establishment will increase security measures, including increased security staffing, more extensive security practices, and video surveillance;

Pay a fine of $1,000 per statute;

Pay the City of Rockford Police Department a $2,500 fee for police services for the evening of Dec. 6, 2014; and

Serve a six-month probationary period with a midnight closing time on Fridays and Saturdays.

Additionally, the bar owners have agreed they will not have live entertainment or DJs in their main room for a one-year period.

The Sports Page had its liquor license suspended Dec. 8 for one week when a shooting occurred in their parking lot on Dec. 6 at approximately 1 a.m. The shooting in the parking lot was a culmination of a physical altercation that had started inside the establishment when two groups of approximately six to seven individuals fought over a pool table. One individual was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and two individuals were charged with mob action after the shooting. The weapons charge was later dismissed.

The election to suspend a liquor license is taken by the City of Rockford Liquor Commission when they feel that continued operation of the liquor establishment could cause the citizens of the City of Rockford injury or harm. The Sports Page has had six significant issues that resulted in calls to the police in the last year. The shooting on Dec. 6 was the second time there was a report of shots fired on the property.

The Liquor Commission has suspended liquor licenses seven times in the past five years when the conduct related to the liquor establishment was seen as causing chaos to the surrounding neighborhood. The Aragona Club, the Adriatic, San Jose, JT’s Bourbon Street Grille and The Body Shop received conduct-related suspensions of their liquor license and eventually lost their liquor license.

The Barn on North Main received a 30-day suspension of their license, which must be served within a six-month time period or the owners would forfeit their license. San Jose, The Barn and The Body Shop agreed to tender their liquor licenses in lieu of paying required fines. Whiskey’s Roadhouse received a one-day suspension this past summer when they were cited for “knowingly allowing patrons to carry unsealed or open alcohol from Whiskey’s Roadhouse to the parking lot.”

Posted Dec. 11, 2014

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