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Brawls Focus Police On Kudeta
by Paul Bass | Oct 14, 2013 3:16 pm
Posted to: Downtown
The contract called for a private “Sweet Sixteen” party with no “promotion.” The flyers suggested otherwise.
Those two visions of a party led to a police shutdown at a teen party at Kudeta restaurant/nightclub on Temple Street Sunday evening after roving brawls erupted on the streets outside.
The episode has sparked renewed concern over the conduct of party-goers and club managers in downtown’s entertainment district.
The mother of a 16-year-old boy booked a private party at Kudeta Sunday night. She signed a contract for it back in June. The contract described it as a private birthday party. Both sides agreed no “promotion” would be involved. No alcohol served. The mom paid $621.75 for a room and food.
According to police and to Kudeta manager May Lin, the agreement also involved not allowing in the public or charging a cover at the door. The mom arranged to pay for seven security guards, plus two more from the Kudeta’s security staff.
The party started at 7 p.m. People started showing up with the flyers (pictured at the top of the story). The mom said she wanted to collect the cover. Lin said OK, and stationed family members by the door; Lin said later that she had been caught by surprise by that request. The flyer called for patrons to pay $10 at the door if they had the invitation, $15 if not.
In less than an hour and a half, the place was jammed with more than 200 young people. A large crowd had amassed out on the Temple Street sidewalk by the club’s front door. Lin went outside several times asking people to leave. Even though the club could legally handle more people, Lin decided the crowd had gotten too big. At 8:39 p.m. she ordered the doors shut; no one else would be allowed in.
By 9 p.m. fights erupted outside, some involving people wearing ski masks or riding by on bikes, according to the police. Neighboring restaurants shut their doors for fear of the violence spilling inside their establishments.
Dozens of cops arrived on the scene, along with Chief Dean Esserman and Assistant Chief Denise Blanchard.
Officers managed to break up the fights with no one getting hurt. They ordered Lin to shut down the party at Kudeta. Partygoers migrated to another club called MYNT; police had the party shut down there too.
Another club a half-block up Crown Street from Kudeta, G.O.A.T., also had a teen party going on.
Monday, the recriminations began.
Manager Lin, showing the contract and video from the club’s surveillance system to a reporter Monday, bristled at the police handling of the situation. She said a sergeant on scene had threatened to arrest her even though she hadn’t done anything wrong. “He tried to scare me,” she said. “Because I’m Chinese. If I’m not Chinese, I think there’d be totally no problem.” Lin came to the U.S. 17 years ago from Fuzhou, China.
She showed video footage of the empty bar and of the party itself, as well as well as the scene. It showed her going outside to ask people to leave the area. It showed a calm scene inside the party. It showed an empty bar.
Lin said she had met with downtown’s top cop, Sgt. Tammi Means, on Friday to discuss the upcoming party. She called Means over the weekend, too, and was told the party looked fine, she said.
Means said she had learned about the upcoming teen party “by word of mouth,” not from Lin, and had dropped in on Lin Friday night to discuss it. Means said it wasn’t her role to approve or not approve a teen party.
“They didn’t notify properly. The only reason I went there is because I found out about it,” Means said.
In a press release, the police department cited Chapter 14, Article I. Sec. 14-6, which calls for club owners to notify the chief’s office more than 48 hours in advance of non-alcoholic “juice” parties for minors in order to get permission in writing and learn how much extra security they should hire. The release also stated that Kudeta’s lease with the parking authority forbids music, entertainment, and dancing, which takes place regularly on weekend nights.
Police also found adults in the bar area, which should have been cordoned off, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.
“The New Haven Police Department has launched two investigations regarding this issue. The first is into the possibility that laws were broken and the second is into how to prevent such things from happening in the future,” Hartman reported.
Lin responded that she called the main police number on Friday to arrange for the party and was told by someone on the other end of the line that he would try to find the right person for her to speak to. She never heard back, she said. As for the restaurant’s lease, she said that as the manager (rather than the owner), she is not familiar with the document.
Meanwhile, the mom who booked the party denied breaking any agreement with Kudeta. She said the flyers were merely invitations. Her son handed them specifically to friends, she said.
“It’s not like I handed them out at Stop & Shop. We didn’t pass it out on the street,” said the mom, who asked to remain anonymous. She said Lin showed her where to collect the money at the door: “She seen everything that went on. She allowed it. She was helping put on the bracelets; she could have shut us down. Somebody trying to save their butt; I followed the rules.”
Lin said that one of the family members, an older woman, asked for permission to collect money by the inside of the door rather than out in the street, because of the cold.
“I couldn’t, for an old lady, say no,” she said.
Tags: Kudeta, teen brawls, nightclub district
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Dang - wish my mom used my birthdays growing up as a cash cow. Wonder what the split between the birthday boy and mom was. 50-50?
So who is Michael Blake? Who is his Mother? Where are they from? Is there any history of promoting “teen thug” parties in the past? Isn’t that property, the space that Kudeta rents, the property of the NHPA? Could the city have been sued if someone was hurt or killed there, as it may be city property?
Thank God no one was hurt.
I think Kudeta should be shut down but its crazy that the police don’t know the law. Chapter 14, Article I. Sec. 14-6 clearly states café permit holders must notify the police of a juice bar. Establishments with a restaurant liquor permit have no such obligation because underage patrons are allowed in by default.
Why target one bar rather than focus on enforcing common-sense safety measures! What do they want young people in this city to do? First, it seems that the problem was OUTSIDE the club, not INSIDE. Are the police going to blame the party that there were kids on bikes in ski masks riding past?
Did the club allow illegal overcrowding? That’s a safety concern. As ILivehere pointed out, no one actually broke the law because there’s not an obligation to notify the police. But let’s focus on the real issue, which is that there is NOTHING for young people in this city to do, rather than getting angry that the people who live in this city might show up downtown. If there was a party like this outside of downtown, no one would care.
What they need to do is to allow young people who are NOT starting fights to enjoy themselves in a safe way. Otherwise, there’s no reward for the kids who behave responsibly over the kids starting trouble.
@ProgressiveThinking Of course “This could’ve happened anywhere…” That is a blanket statement that you could say about any incident to try and downplay its significance. Ski masks, teens on bikes, dozens of cops, a downtown melee at two different establishments…and all you can say is “meh…could’ve happened anywhere”??? Reality check please.
I’m sorry, but until the fine people of New Haven decide to stand up and take ownership and responsibility for the state of affairs in this fine city, incidents such as this will not only continue to “happen anywhere”, but they will continue to happen in NH.
I saw both the beginning and the end of this situation. As my wife and I walked into a 7:10 movie at the Criterion we noticed a very large crowd of teens outside of Kudeta. I assumed there was some kind of celebrity appearance. There were probably 200 kids lined up—rambunctious but perfectly orderly.
As we left the movie the first police cars arrived. The police response was quick and overwhelming—and given recent issues on Crown Street this made sense. I did not, however, witness any roving fights outside of Kudeta, at least not at the moment of the first cruiser’s arrival. As more police arrived they began to evacuate Kudeta. The kids leaving were all dressed up (some nicely and some in waaaaaay too short skirts.) I stood around for about 30 minutes since our car was blocked in. I was amazed by the number of kids who poured out of Kudeta—hundreds…the place must have been well over capacity. But everyone was leaving peacefully - I mean for a teen party that just got broke up by the police I thought everyone was very well behaved. The age of party-goers appeared 13 - 16. I did notice that there were some other older teens riding around in bikes—but they were dressed in t-shirts unlike the dressed-up Sweet 16ers.) I also thought the police on the scene were very cordial to partygoers in asking them nicely to head home.
I’ll reserve judgment about teen parties, parenting, lack of tween wardrobe supervision, Crown Street and Kudeta and will just say…Michael Blake sure does have a lot of friends.
Let me start by saying that I am a VERY overprotective parent and have an eye for unsafe, unruly situations…....
My daughter was at this event…i dropped her off @ 7:30pm. I picked her up around 9:30pm. Yes! there were lots of kids! But I saw NO fights whatsoever…neither did she. Everyone was well mannered, nicely dressed(nightclub attire).It’s all a bunch of hogwash if you ask me. And the kids were older 15-19 as there were many high school seniors and recent high school grads/college students who were in attendance. I think they are fudging the truth for whatever reason.
The only issue that was alarming to her/scared her was when one of the parties security goons put on a bandana to cover his face/mouth, he then proceeded to take out a can of mace, point it at the ground and began spraying…I guess in an attempt to disperse the kids that were standing in line?
I wonder if the group of kids were from Woodbridge or Hamden if this would have ended in such an exaggerated manner..so uncalled for if you ask me.
@jdossgollin: I am always baffled by the notion that teens with “nothing to do” will end up causing trouble (I am not taking any stance on whether what happened at Kudeta was trouble, by the way). I grew up with “nothing to do” except ride my bike around, play sports, read, watch TV, and go to the movies. Sometimes I played video games. I called friends on the phone. You know, what teenagers DO. Why would the lack of club life for a 15-year-old mean he or she would have to turn to criminal activity, as you seem to imply? Is there somethig in the water in 2013 that means kids can’t occupy themselves in law-abiding ways? There were troublemakers then, and troublemakers now, but nobody attributed it back then to the absence of dance parties and clubs. There is PLENTY for teenagers to do. We have parks, movie theaters a bus ticket or bike ride away, several public library branches, etc. And then they can also hang out and waste time. But the city doesn’t owe its young people clubs.
@Career High School Parent - not sure I understand your point in your last sentence. What difference does it make what town/city the kids were from - they were in New Haven?
Who is blowing it out of proportion - NHPD or the media?
Also - since your child attended, can you clarify if this was indeed a private birthday party w/ a cover charge?
Let me clarify.
By all accounts, the problem was not coming from the young people in the party, but from some older kids outside. There are some comments from parents that support this. I wasn’t there, I’m just going by what I have read.
I think it is destructive and counter-productive that the conclusion so many people are drawing from this event is that young people in New Haven should have yet another thing—clubbing—taken away from them. Don’t get me wrong, I was not the 16 year old club king and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t be. But, I think it’s very sad that our collective reaction is “those *** kids are at it again.”
There is factually very little for kids to do here. Most kids can’t go walk around with their friends or go to the park or other things, because it’s not safe. Now they’re not allowed to go to a party because other people are causing trouble and they’re being blamed for it.
No one is saying that kids in 2013 can’t enjoy themselves in law-abiding ways. Again, by all accounts the vast majority if not all of the kids at this event were obeying the law. If the venue was over-crowded that’s a specific safety concern that is the fault of the owner, not the people who were there (do you count how many people are in a club before you enter?)
I never said that kids get into trouble because there aren’t enough dance parties and clubs. What I did say is that it’s wrong for us to say that no events for young people should be held downtown. No one said no events for Yale students should be held after the Elevate raids. Collectively punishing young people because there are a few trouble-makers is unethical, it pushes the problem out to the neighborhoods instead of solving it, it takes away the possibility of responsibly attending safe events from most young people, and it alienates young people and makes them feel [correctly, sadly] that New Haven’s decision-makers don’t care about them.
My daughter was also at this event and said she witnessed no “brawl”. Apparently this is being blown way out of proportion by the media which in turn is making the public bristle at events such as this. Very rarely do you find a parent that is going to spend that kind of money and preparation time to hold a wild party for teenagers that in the end she will be held accountable. There very well may have been some trouble makers outside, but you cannot hold the establishment or the person holding the event accountable for what goes on outside. That is what all the “security” was for.
Not so. The law regards “juice bar events” held at any cafe’. The purpose is for a security review by police.
As far as I can tell the teens didn’t do anything wrong. The mom however, fraudulently threw a cover-charge party and a strangly complicit restaurant manager allowed her to do so. There’s nothing wrong with the party format if you follow the rules (police notification for a security review).
@JustAnother- What makes you think this was a “teen thug” party? The article states the mother paid almost $700 back in June for this party. There is no indication that her or her son had anything to do with all these other kids showing up. ANYONE can promote a party now a days. My daughter was there and she is nowhere close to a “thug”.
No A café is a specific type of liquor license that calls for all patrons to be over 21 and the establishment does not have to serve full meals.
A restaurant liquor license allows minors in the establishment provided the bar is in a separate room or has 4 foot wide openings to the bar area. A restaurant also must serve full meals.
here is a link to the liquor license app for our state you can see the different types listed here. http://www.ct.gov/dcp/lib/dcp/pdf/applications_added_2012/new_application_-_on_premises.pdf
In addition if you go to https://www.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx
you can see kudeta has a RESTAURANT LIQUOR license number LIR.0017013
while the GOAT has a CAFE LIQUOR permit number LCA.0007395
As I said before minors are aloud in restaurants.
@LadyERT - Everything. Especially taking advantage of the venue/proprietors. It shows a complete lack of respect for another’s property and business, and it’s no surprise that this group was low class enough to devolve into fights.
That’s a very interesting technical point. I think the BOA intended to include any facilities hosting such events but you are right; the local law only names “cafe’s.” The local law also specifically references the State Statutes (which do draw a distinction between cafes and restaurants.) Just goes to show…
Bad Writing=Bad Legislation
My 15 year old daughter also attended this party… There was no brawl! It’s not the teen parties we need to worry about, let them have their fun, it’s the young adults ages 19-30 killing each other all over New Haven. On another note, this party was definitely not an invite only party, this invitation was on Facebook and Instragram for sure (my daughter showed me).
No injuries, no charges. Compare to a few weeks ago when two people were shot at Pulse a block away from Kudeta. Mus have been a slow news Monday.
Just look at the poster. Tells the whole story. Another mess that the NHPD had to clean up.
@Stylo- this “goup” as you call them, did NOT develop into fights. There was a group OUTSIDE of the establishment that caused the problem. As for taking advantage of a propietor.. They had a voice to say yay or nay, obviously they said yay.. Before you go insulting people and calling them low class.. KNOW WHO THEY ARE. My daughter was there and she is nowhere near low class. They are TEENAGERS…
What’s wrong with the flyer? I looked at it and saw nothing offensive…here again, if it’s young and urban, and of a different hue, then it’s considered trash…many of the kids who were in attendance are good kids from great families…it was an event that was planned poorly but there were no ” thugs” from what I saw! Just a bunch of kids that were looking to get dressed up & have a good time.
Yes, she paid a cover charge…but at the end of the day, what does that matter? My daughter is a high honor student, lworks, volunteers, and is a great kid. So were most of the kids who were at this event. Does that mean that paying a cover charge to enter makes them low class or ne’er dowels?
And yes, if these kids were of a different hue….from the surrounding suburbs, the police would have reacted in a different manner. Let’s call it what it is folks…
@Career High School Parent - in no way did I imply anything negative about your daughter. The question regarding the cover charge was in relation to the story that this was a private “sweet 16 party” where there was a contractual agreement that there would be “no promotions” - still trying to figure out if the restaurant manager may have been bamboozled or was complicit was.
The “hue” of the attendees made no difference when the NHPD broke up the Yale party downtown that caused quite the uproar a few years ago. Last I looked - Hamden has a lot of “hues”.