Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, told me Tuesday morning that DPD issued seven citations on Friday night during an enforcement operation at the Dallas Eagle. Janse said the arrests were made at-large, meaning no one was taken into custody. Six of the citations went to bartenders for sale of beer without a license, a class-B misdemeanor, Janse said. The other citation went to the owners of the Eagle for allowing dancing without a dance hall permit, a class-c misdemeanor. Janse said it’s also possible that patrol officers made one arrest for public intoxication, but he was unable to provide further details. Patrol officers were called to assist the vice unit, which conducted the initial investigation, Janse said. These criminal charges are in addition to an administrative fine Eagle owners will face from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for selling alcohol away from their licensed premises.
Some have taken issue with the manner in which this operation was conducted. Rather than simply contacting the bar owners and explaining that they could not sell alcohol at the new location, DPD and TABC chose to conduct a large-scale enforcement operation. But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this, given that it seems to be a common practice. So, I can understand the charges against the owners for allowing dancing without a dance-hall license and selling alcohol away from the licensed premises. However, I’m having a real hard time with the decision to file criminal charges against bartenders for a licensing issue they likely weren’t even aware of, and I plan to ask both TABC and DPD to explain this. If they can’t provide a valid explanation, these charges should be dropped.
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