Things too Funky at the Monkey for planners

funkymonkeyA permit that would have allowed live music and a cover charge at the Funky Monkey bar in downtown Hayward was denied by the Planning Commission at its Thursday meeting, on the grounds that the venue is already taxing to police services and doesn’t seem to be interested in doing anything to change that.

 The applicant stated that the cover charge would help keep troublemakers out of the bar. Police didn’t think it would make a difference. An attorney for the applicant said police are out to get the Funky Monkey, and target it on weekend nights and that’s why so many incidents are recorded there.

That didn’t sit well with planners.

“You mention police sitting out in front as if that’s a negative thing,” said Rodney Loche. “I applaud the police for doing what they have to do.  It is unfortunate we have to use police in that way, but they are doing what they feel they need to do to make the city safer…  To suggest it is a negative or personal attack is unfortunate.”

Included in the staff report recommending denial is police information about service calls to the Funky Monkey. There were 80 last year. Three case studies included are kind of a “best of” list. Er, make that “worst of”:

Case Study 1

The following incident Report 204020583 occurred on February 23 2008 at 12:49am: The Hayward Police Department dispatch received several calls reporting a large fight in progress in front of the Funky Monkey Bar. Callers told dispatchers that about 30 persons came out of the bar and were fighting in the street.
The first officers arrived at the scene and found approximately 50 persons engaged in fighting. The fighting was in the street and spilling out into Municipal Parking Lots 1 and 2. The investigating officer contacted the supervising security guard at the bar who told the officer that four security guards were working and he didn’t know what prompted the fight. He added that Funky Monkey security staff had a hard time maintaining control of the bar patronage on Friday nights as gang members had begun hanging out there.

In response to this call the SDU gang unit drove into the area and stopped a large group of persons who were yelling and arguing with each other. The large group was on the west side of Main Street just south ofthe bar and was obviously part of the disturbance occurring at the bar. Two members of the group fled to avoid police contact. The SDU unit chased the suspects down as they were entering a nearby parked car. This car was determined to be stolen. One of the two suspects was found to be in possession of cocaine.
In response to this call eight officers were dispatched expending atotal of 151 hours of combined time to investigate the reported fight and restore order..
Six officers were pulled off their assigned beats to assist in response to this call.
The only K9 officer working this night was tied up on this call for approximately 2 hours.
The only Crime Scene Technician working this shift was out of service for 2 hours while processing this scene.

Later on the same day February 23 2008, 24 yo female came to the Police Department to report a battery and robbery. The victim stated she was at the Funky Monkey earlier in the morning when a large fight broke out she and her friend left the bar and tried to get to their car to leave. The victim and her friends were followed to her car by a group of gang members who yelled gang taunts. She was then knocked to the ground by the group, kicked and punched repeatedly. The victim had her purse ripped off her arm. The victim said she wanted to tell the police what had happened but the crowd was so heavily populated with gang members she wanted to avoid being jumped again because she was not gang affiliated. The police officer taking this report documented the following injuries to the victim: black eye, cut lip, bruising on her lower back, sore ribs, and bruising on both arms.
The investigation ofthis incident required 4 additional hours of officer time.

Case Studv 2
The following incident Report 203030097 occurred on February 14 2009 at 11:53pm
Funky Monkey security staff called the Hayward Police Department dispatch requesting assistance with several bar patrons they had placed under citizen arrest for trespassing (refusing to leave). Three officers responded and took custody of their prisoners and began taking statements to process the arrest. While officers were out front of the Funky Monkey security guards in the bar ran outside requesting further assistance in the bar. Security guards were struggling with a yet unarrested bar patron. Several Hayward Police Department officers followed security into the bar. According to the officers approximately 100 persons were in the bar and the crowd was heavily populated with the Devils Own motorcycle club and Norteno gang members. Two officers found Funky Monkey security guards fighting with two individuals. When officers took control of the two individuals the crowd turned hostile and attacked them. Officers noted that large glass drinking glasses and beer bottles began to be thrown across the bar, some directed at other patrons some directed at the officers. One officer was punched by a bar patron twice in the face knocking him to the ground. Officers at the bar put out an Expedite Cover call over their radio. This code is used when officers are in imminent peril and need immediate assistance. Additional officers arrived. Four combatants were arrested including the suspect that punched the officer. The bar was closed and cleaned of all persons this caused a large crowd control issue in the street and surrounding parking lots.
This call seriously impacted HPD police services for this evening
21 officers from Haywazd Police Department,. three Haywazd Police Supervisors and 1 BART officer responded to this call representing 33 hours of police time
All beat officers were pulled out oftheir service areas in response to this call
Additionally HPD gang enforcement team suspended their operations for a 1.5 hour time period
The officer that was punched sustained a black eye bruising and lacerations to the right side ofhis head.

Case Study 3
The following incident Report 210601207019 occurred on August 8 2009 at 12:19 a.m.
Hayward Police Department dispatch received a call from the Funky Monkey Bar reporting a large fight had broken out inside the bar. Police officers found a lone female patron of the bar lying on the sidewalk outside the bar. She had a large laceration across her head and told officers she was beaten up inside the bar. An unknown suspect hit her with a bottle causing her injury. Officers noted the bar was packed with between 100 to 200 people Hayward Fire Department personnel were summoned as was an ambulance to stabilize and transport the victim. Additional officers were summoned as Hayward Fire Department and Medic Personnel couldn’t treat the assault victim as a hostile crowd had formed outside of the bar. Officers formed a defensive perimeter around the assault victim. The situation continued to deteriorate as officers attempted to investigate the assault looked for witnesses, preserved and processed forensic evidence and located suspects. Officers quickly learned that any evidence of the assault had been removed, bar employees had cleaned up the crime scene by removing the bottle glass and blood. No bar employees, including a security guard, said they witnessed the altercation. One security guard stated he heard glass break, found the victim on the floor and then took her outside to the sidewalk. As the bar was cleaned of people a large crowd formed in the street. The crowd refused to clear the street and small groups formed to challenge the police with statements such as “You are all dead,” and “Someone gonna bring a shotgun next time” were recorded in police reports. A total of four individuals were arrested in this incident. All were in a drunken condition and resisted their arrest. One of the four was found to be in possession of cocaine.
This incident required the Watch Commander assigning all beat officers to respond to the bar to move the unruly crowd and restore order.

This suspended police service for approximately 1.5 hours, the utilization of 27 officers and with 3 supervisors.
All SDU gang enforcement teams and K9 officers suspended their operations and were utilized in this response.
Two California State University East Bay officers at Hayward Police Department request.
32 hours of police time.

While other planners said they believe the owner is trying to turn the place around, all agreed they would like to see some improvements before they award a permit that would expand activities there.

The meeting can be viewed here. The decision can be appealed to the City Council within 10 days.

Eric Kurhi