Bar owner postpones protest at City Hall

Bar owner postpones protest at City Hall

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RACINE - A local bar owner who could lose his liquor license sat down earlier this week to tell police he was planning to close his bar early Sunday and march his patrons to City Hall to protest, according to a Racine Police spokesman.

But as of Friday, Thomas Holmes, owner of Park 6, 500 Sixth St., said he had postponed the protest though he would not say why.

Holmes said the protest will be rescheduled by the "couple organizations involved." He would not say what those organizations are or when the protest might happen. But he did say why he is interested in leading protestors to City Hall.

"It's in opposition of the unfair treatment of black establishments in the city in the Downtown area," Holmes said Friday night in his bar.

Holmes called the Downtown Racine Corporation office earlier in the week and left a message for Executive Director Devin Sutherland, informing him of the planned protest, Sutherland said Friday. Holmes' intent was to protest "the city's views on black bars/establishments and shutting them down."

Sutherland said he tried to encourage Holmes to reconsider the timing of the event, raising concerns about safety.

"If they want attention to their cause that's probably not the best time," Sutherland said.

To prepare for the possible protest, the police department parked a trailer outfitted with surveillance cameras on Sixth Street near the City Hall grounds, according to Sgt. Martin Pavilonis of the Racine Police Department.

Pavilonis said police officials had tried to discourage Holmes from organizing the protest after the bars closed.

"It's probably not the best time to be doing that, not that it's not their right," Pavilonis said.

Holmes will appear before the city's Public Safety and Licensing committee on Thursday for a due process hearing. The committee will consider whether to suspend or revoke Holmes ‘ liquor license for a variety of issues.

Journal Times reporter Lindsay Fiori contributed to this report.

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