Emergency order allows Rochester police to close businesses ‘associated with violence’

Local News

ROCHSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An emergency order issued Thursday by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren allows the Rochester Police Department to close businesses if a shooting happens there, under certain conditions.

The “Emergency Order Regarding Local Businesses Associated with Violence in our Community” gives the police chief the power to close any commercial building “where a shooting has occurred in the prior 30 days,” as long as the property has also accrued 12 nuisance points over the past 6 months or 18 nuisance points over the past 12 months.

“I don’t take this action lightly,” Warren said in a statement issued along with the proclamation Thursday afternoon. “However, Chief Smith has asked for this ability to ensure that he and our police officers can do all they can to keep our city safe.”

Businesses who are suspended from operation will be required to meet with their local Neighborhood Service Center to create an abatement plan. Once all sides agree and sign it, the location will be allowed to re-open upon approval from the police chief.

According to officials, there are currently two separate businesses which have received shut down notices:

  • The Black Bear Pub, 380 West Ridge Road
  • El Chuchifrito, 1733 Norton Street

Police say 29-year-old Sean Semprie was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Black bear Pub last weekend.

This nuisance point system is nothing new to the city. A business can rack up “points” for things like crime, noise and shootings. 

The emergency order allows the police chief to close a business if they cross a point threshold — without wasting any time. Prior to the order, it could take up to 10 business days for police to just file a report, according to RPD spokesperson.

News 8 has been unsuccessful in reaching the owners for Black Bear Pub, but talked to neighboring businesses for reaction.

“I think it’s a good thing to curb the violence in the city nobody wants anyone getting hurt,” said owner Richard Scores.

Richard Scores has worked here his whole life and says he’s had growing concerns over the years. “Three or four months ago someone got stabbed in the eye back there,” he said. “Three or four months ago someone got stabbed in the eye back there.”

A sign on the pub’s door shows a list of state COVID guidelines, noting a capacity of 55 people max. But according to RPD, they’ve been cited numerous times over the last year, with a total of 26 points. They say due to COVID and moratorium on evictions, the operator was unable to be evicted up to this point, and the state liquor authority is working to remove their license.

A recent Facebook post from the pub owner says they called 911 for suspicious activity .

The order as issued will be in effect through December 12, at which point it may be renewed. December 12 marks 30 days after a state of emergency declaration was issued to address rising violence in the city.

Mayor-elect Malik Evans has not yet publicly commented on if he will keep the emergency order in place when he is sworn into office on January 1, 2022.

Read the emergency order

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