By Charles Sercombe
Coincidence or retaliation?
That’s a question that came up this week among some in the community after a recent police sting on several local bars.
Last Friday, Hamtramck police sent two minors to several bars to see if they would get served alcohol. Two of the bars targeted happened to be owned by City Councilmembers Tom Jankowski and Cathie Gordon.
The bartender at Jankowski’s Whiskey in the Jar on Yemans St. fell for the bait and was cited for serving minors.
Gordon’s bar, New Dodge Lounge, avoided being cited because the minors were turned away after they could not produce an ID.
The sting raised some eyebrows because it happened after a recent controversy over the City Council holding up the purchase of bullet proof vests for the Police Department. Jankowski insisted that officers should kick in 50 percent of the cost despite available funding that would not require the city to spend a cent.
Jankowski has been trying to force the police officers’ two unions to make contract concessions because of a projected $3.3 million city deficit. So far, the unions have balked at any concessions.
Gordon agreed to hold up the vote on the vests per Jankowski’s request. Although the two eventually joined with the rest of the council to unanimously approve the purchase, there were sore feelings from some police officers.
Asked if she thought the sting was in retaliation for her hesitance in approving the purchase, Gordon said: “I would hope not.”
After having it pointed out that it at least appears to be coincidental in timing, she agreed, saying: “You have a point.”
Jankowski refused to comment, saying he has not received official notification of the violation.
The officer in charge of the sting, Detective-Sgt. Dan Misiak, said there was absolutely no connection between the vest controversy and the sting.
“This was due to LLC complaints we received,” Misiak said.
Misiak said the department conducts several stings throughout the year, which also involves checking on stores that sell alcohol and cigarettes. The LLC, the state agency that controls liquor licenses, gives the police department $25,000 a year to offset overtime costs for the stings.
Misiak said this was the third bar sting this year. He said other bars snared in the sting were Kelly’s Bar and 88th Ave. A couple of other bars were also tested but passed the sting.
Gordon credited her employees for being alert. But that wasn’t the only thing she had to contend with on Friday night. She had to kick out a customer who refused to show her ID. The customer became unruly and punched her in the face, causing a slight concussion.
“In 25 years I’ve never had anyone put a hand on me,” Gordon said. “It’s a changed world.”