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A Dover, Del., man who couldn‚??t get into a crowded Dewey Beach bar Tuesday night claims he and several others were turned away from Northbeach because of their race. / The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal

WILMINGTON, Del. - Police have criticized the outdoor bar Northbeach in Dewey Beach for attracting large, unruly crowds on Tuesdays with its dollar-drink promotion.

But now a Northbeach patron says the bar went to extremes in controlling who enters by blocking all black men at the door for part of last Tuesday night's event.

The man, Michael Brown, 32, of Dover, claims he and several others were turned away from Northbeach because of their race.

"It happened with almost all the black guys who came up, unless they were with a group of white people," Brown said Wednesday.

A video from the incident posted on Facebook shows some white patrons were denied access as well. "To the side, guys," a bouncer says to a group of about 15 people ‚?? some white, some black ‚?? in the video. "You can leave."

Northbeach is owned by Alex Pires, an entrepreneur and lawyer who represented black farmers in a class-action racial discrimination suit.

Pires said he was at the bar Tuesday night and gave his doormen instructions not to allow any men in starting at about 10:50 p.m.

"From 10 of 11 to 11:40 we didn't let in any men at all. We slowed the place down and made everybody wait in line," Pires said. "We try to make the room half women, half men."

Northbeach has been criticized in the past, with police saying in June its Tuesday night cheap-beer promotions drew crowds so large they were unmanageable. Dewey Beach Police Department Sgt. Cliff Dempsey told the town council two officers were surrounded one night in June after closing time by a crowd "engaged in disorderly, violent behavior. ... It went downhill very fast."

On Thursday, Dempsey said police have gotten fewer complaints about crowds near Northbeach on Tuesdays since then.

Brown said a bar employee told him race played a part in who got in Tuesday night.

"There was a guy, a set of guys, who said, 'I'm sorry, but the owner is trying not to let any black males in tonight,' " said Brown, who drove to Dewey Tuesday evening with his fiancée, brother and sister. Earlier in the summer, he said, he'd gone there and gotten in with no problems.

After waiting about an hour, Brown said, he again tried to enter the bar and was allowed inside, but his brother, walking right behind him, was denied entry, so his whole group left.

Pires said he heard someone who'd been told to wait accused the bar of discriminating against black customers, but he said that was false.

"I said, 'Look, you're talking to a civil rights lawyer for 35 years of my life. Don't lecture me,' " Pires said Wednesday.

Creating a line to enter the bar, Pires said, helps tamp down the kinds of unruly crowds that police called attention to in June.

"We've been told the way to slow them down is lines. People who are sober will wait," Pires said. "People who are aggressive, it does work. They leave."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Patron claims Del. bar denied entry because of race

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