Liquor commissioner hears Wild Bull testimony

The Wild Bull Saloon in Kalamazoo.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — There were testy exchanges as a liquor control commissioner listened to testimony Wednesday about alleged violations at the Wild Bull Saloon, a popular Kalamazoo bar.

The case pits Kalamazoo police against a businessman who says they are unfairly targeting his bar. Bar owner and businessman Ryan Reedy told Target 8 investigators he thinks the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is trying to do him financial harm and that one detective has a vendetta against him. The police chief says that’s not true.

The detective named by Reedy, Charles Dahlinger, testified briefly Wednesday, but only to say he didn’t do any work on the cases and was simply the person who collected the paperwork and sent it on the LCC.

But tension continued throughout testimony Wednesday at the Kalamazoo Township Hall.

In the first case the commissioner heard about an incident at the Wild Bull, Christopher Abbs said a security staffer pushed a friend out of the way on the way to stop a fight. Abbs claims that when he tried to get an apology from the security guard, he was put in a headlock.

“He didn’t say anything about my friend. He said, ‘No, you need to leave right now,'” he said.

He said that’s when he was put in the headlock.

“I was dragged out the front door by him and I think there was another security guy. I was in a headlock so I can’t really see. I was dragged all the way out the front door and slammed on the concrete,” Abbs said.

But Adrian Bouyer, the Wild Bull’s head of security, testified he did apologize. Because it was closing time, he said, he told Abbs to leave. But Abbs became agitated, he said.

“I lightly placed a hand on his back to direct him toward [the door]. … ‘It’s time to go,'” Bouyer said. “Once I did that, he decided to throw his left elbow back at me and he caught me in my chest. Once he did that, I grabbed his arm, or his wrist, and then I started to push him toward the door. After that, he continued to fight me. Then I managed to proceed to take him to the ground.”

In the next case, an investment banker said another Wild Bull patron tried to pick a fight with him and security hustled the man out. But, he said, he the same man got back in and came at him again.

“About 15, 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes later, I was knocked unconscious by the same guy,” Christopher Snooks said.

He said security should have prevented the man from re-entering the bar.

But Michael Brown, the lawyer for the Wild Bull, said police failed to do much investigating and that managers and security people at the bar were never interviewed. He said police produced only a one-page report that left him without information to defend his client over an incident that happened nearly six months ago.

“So apparently the priority is to try to get the bar in trouble rather than to try to actually solve the assault on Mr. Snooks, because there doesn’t seem to have been any kind of followup to try to prove the assault on Mr. Snooks by identifying the perpetrator,” Brown said. “What we do have is how many police officers from the City of Kalamazoo here today and LCC people here today to try to prove something that happened Sept. 15.”

“This grandstanding has nothing to do with the violation,” Assistant Attorney General Felepe Hall responded. “I object. He should be restricted to answering the violation.”

Liquor Control Commissioner Ed Gafney said he will rule later on two of the four violations. He postponed testimony on a third and dismissed a fourth when police couldn’t locate witnesses.

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