City Council voted last night to revoke a south side bar’s alcohol license after several violent incidents occurred nearby.

The council passed the motion for revocation of R’ Place’s liquor license by a vote of 15 to 2, despite several patrons’ insistence that it was a safe and beneficial environment.

Owner Rick Flowers said it is the only predominantly black bar in the area. He objected to the revocation and said it was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“There’s nothing that we’ve done in violation of alcohol laws,” he said.

Sabrina Madison, a regular at the bar, argued on its behalf.

“You should not blame the social ills of the south side on R’ Place,” she said.

It was also the only place where she truly felt at ease, she said.

Maria Brown, who lived near the bar, spoke in favor of revoking the liquor license. She said there were multiple times where she or other members of the general public were required to alert the authorities regarding R’ Place.

“My children are asking, ‘Are we going to get shot on the way to the library?'” she said.

In late September, a shooting that injured three people took place on the same block as R’ Place, and police later said the three people who had been injured had left the bar before the incident. Following the shooting, a restraining order was filed by the city against the bar declaring it a public nuisance, and the restraining order still stands awaiting further instruction from the Dane County Circuit Court.

According to Jennifer Zilavy, assistant city attorney, Flowers was uncooperative on several incidents, particularly when he was asked to close the bar a few hours early for a period of time in order for the police to determine the cause of the problem.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, made a motion to suspend the license instead of revoking it entirely. However, City Attorney Michael May pointed out that if the council would vote to suspend the license, all the work and documentation that had been made over the past years would have been unable to be used in the future. Her motion ultimately failed.

Ald. Brian Solomon, District 10, defended R’ Place, saying he didn’t think this would be the end to the problems. He agreed with many who spoke in the public hearing, believing the people causing the incidents would simply move on to another area. He thought revocation of the license would only serve as a “Band-Aid” rather than an ultimate solution.

Most agreed it wouldn’t be a cure all for the city’s crime problems, but it was an acknowledged hot spot for activity and a move to dismantle this would be beneficial for the community. It was simply one step in a constant process of working to address the global issue.

Flowers said he believes there was nothing they did wrong, particularly in violation of alcohol laws. Now he plans to do what he can, saying he doesn’t have to sell liquor, as the music gathering was half the appeal.

Another point that the City Council brought up during the meeting was that graduate student Samuel Stevenson, former opinion writer for The Badger Herald, was appointed to Alcohol License Review Committee, the group that makes the recommendation for revocation decisions.