Hundreds show support in Mr. J's efforts to appeal denial of liquor license renewal

NOW: Hundreds show support in Mr. J’s efforts to appeal denial of liquor license renewal

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MILWAUKEE, (CBS 58) -- Hundreds of people showed out Sunday to support the long-time R&B club Mr. J's Lounge that is facing the loss of it's liquor license in Milwaukee.

The complaints against the club come from residents saying violence happening near the club in the Nov. 6 license hearing.

A memorial left behind for someone shot and killed near the club in August of last year, as well as an incident where a man was killed nearby in December of 2020 are two examples of the type of incidents brought up at the hearing.

Patrons and officials said the club doesn't have a lot of control over it, as violence is an issue across this city, not necessarily related specifically to the club.

"We keep saying there's a lot of violence going on in the city, but I'm concerned about the violence going on at 4610 West Fond Du Lac Avenue, which is trickling into my back door and front door," said neighbor Theresa Scott during the hearing on Nov. 16.

Complaints similar in nature were joined by ones regarding noise levels as well.

It was a different tone at Mr. J's Sunday afternoon, where people like P. Thomas Thadison III, a retired MPD officer, said he's been coming to Mr. J's his whole life, and the issue isn't the patrons.

He said violence is an issue everywhere right now.

"And you cannot fairly blame an establishment that has proven itself over 45 years of continuous safety that this a problem that they've manifested," said Thadison.

That idea was pushed back against during the license hearing by Milwaukee's 11th District Ald. Mark Borkowski.

"This is not just some minor things that have happened over the course of time," said Ald. Borkowski. There have been 10 incidents in 21' alone."

Jessica Key, former manager at the club, lives across the street.

She said it isn't the bar causing problems.

"I know a lot of people feel that if this place wasn't here it wouldn't happen, but if this place is gone there's still going to be a lot of issues," said Key.

Key mentioned they have professional security on site, and surveillance equipment as well.

Mr. J's owner Jeffery Jones said they're going to fight the decision before their license expires Mar. 1 to try and avoid losing a culturally significant place for music in the community.

"We have a chance to appeal, that's what we're working on right now, the appeal process," said Jones.

There is a petition they have in regards to this appeal, which can be found by clicking here.

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