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Fights prompt examination of Fair’s bar — Alleged incidents at Place on 6th draw more attention to the alderman

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RACINE — Alleged fights prompted the city’s Public Safety and Licensing Committee to review Alderman Keith Fair’s bar, Place on 6th.

The committee on Monday chose to receive and file information on the fights, finding they were “not indicative of a major problem,” according to Alderman Greg Helding, committee vice chair.

But “this does not wipe the slate clean. We will keep an eye out and see if they get worse,” Helding told Fair, who is charged with felonies relating to a separate September incident in which he allegedly attacked a pregnant employee of his bar. That case remains open, waiting on a yet to be scheduled status conference, according to online court records.

The city committee on Monday primarily reviewed two incidents reported at Place on 6th, 509 Sixth St. One incident involved an alleged aggravated battery inside the bar on Feb. 1; the other involved alleged fights on Feb. 5.

Fair told the committee the man alleging he was assaulted at Place on 6th got assaulted elsewhere and then ran through the bar. Police at the meeting, held at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., said the investigation is ongoing and the victim has so far been uncooperative.

Regarding the Feb. 5 fights, Fair said that one was not a fight, but a loud birthday celebration and that other fights happened because people who caused disturbances at different establishments earlier that night trickled into his bar.

“You close down one place, these folks are not going to go home and sit in their individual chairs,” Fair said. “They’re going to go around and cause problems.”

The alleged Feb. 5 fights included at least three fights in or around Place on 6th and made 12 Racine police officers require help from other police departments to break up fights and control crowds, said Lt. William Macemon, of the Racine Police Department. He added there were three arrests and three citations.

For some reason there were many fights around Racine the night of Feb. 5, police said, including at Gerald’s Smokehouse, 1501 Washington Ave. Gerald’s owner Gerald Bester was also called before the Public Safety and Licensing Committee Monday for a review of his bar.

On Feb. 5, a fight in the street outside Gerald’s resulted in one of the bar’s security guards mistakenly deploying pepper spray at two police officers, police said.

Since then, Gerald’s has hired new security personnel, enforced a stricter dress code and doubled security for large events, among other changes, said Bester.

The committee voted to receive and file Gerald’s review as well.

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