Monday, March 16, 2015

NYS State Liquor Authority Suspends Washington Armory License Following Stabbings, Fights, Assaults

     Albany, NY – The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) issued an emergency summary suspension of the Washington Avenue Armory, at 195 Washington Avenue in Albany. The suspension was ordered by Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen, Commissioner Jeanique Greene and Commissioner Kevin Kim at a special meeting of the Full Board on Monday, March 16, 2015.  Effective immediately, no alcohol may be served or consumed on the premises.   
     On March 11, 2015, the SLA charged the Albany Armory with six violations following the riot on March 6th.   Charges include operating a disorderly premises, assault, unregistered security staff and becoming a focal point for police attention, as the Armory’s operations have required an inordinate share of police resources and manpower.  The charges are based on reports and video evidence provided to the SLA by the Albany Police Department documenting six knife assaults, including four stabbings, in addition to two robberies and multiple assaults occurring within the premises.  Albany PD responded to calls from victims and medical professionals at the scene, and reported that neither the licensees’ management nor staff contacted the police to report any of the violent incidences or injuries.  Albany police additionally documented a series of disturbances, automobile break-ins and acts of vandalism occurring immediately outside the Armory during the evening of March 6, continuing into the early morning hours of March 7th.  
“The Armory’s management and security personnel have demonstrated complete ineffectiveness in controlling their crowds, as evidenced by the licensee’s security staff idly looking on as patrons beat and stomped each other in a senseless melee,” said SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen.  “Unfortunately, as last weekend’s violencewasn’t an isolated incident, the SLA is compelled to take emergency action today to protect the safety of patrons, police officers and residents.” 
     The Albany Armory has a recent history of violence, with two separate pending disciplinary matters before the SLA for assaults occurring on January 31, 2015 and January 26, 2014.  Additionally, in October 2012, Albany police arrested seven people after a large crowd became disorderly and began fighting with police.  During the incident, three officers were injured.
     The webcast of the special board meeting can be viewed here: 
     The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.  When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations.  In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation, considering each licensee’s disciplinary history, to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension.  The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case.  The licensee is entitled to an expedited hearing before an administrative law judge.  An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.

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