Law Enforcement

Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by David "Double D" Devereaux

25

Pennsylvania Township Threatens Bar Owner

Police in a small Pennsylvania Township are targeting and harassing a local self-proclaimed biker bar. The owner claims to have been threatened directly and State Police Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE) is attempting to shut down the establishment. State agency discrimination against the motorcycle community is constitutionally prohibited. Selective enforcement of ordinances as a pretext to “shut the place down” based on discriminatory beliefs about motorcyclists is an injustice that demands a remedy.

 

Military Family Owned Biker Bar

 

Police Threaten Bar Owner Michelle Perrine. Pictured Here with Husband Dan.Michelle Perrine operate JD’s Tap House in Meadsville Township, Pennsylvania. It’s a biker bar that holds bike nights and charity events like many bars around the country. The Perrines are also a military family. Michelle says, “My husband [Dan] is  a Vet, my daughter is Active Military and we support Bike Clubs and our Veterans.”

 

 

JD’s Tap House sometimes has live music and “Perrine had been issued a zoning variance by the West Mead Zoning Authority in March. According to the variance, Perrine was allowed to host bands on the property between May 1 and Sept. 30, between the hours of 2 and 10 p.m.” (See “Bar owner facing trial over noise violations“, Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014)

 

Police Use Noise Complaints from ONE Person as a Pretext to Try to Shut Bar Down.

 

Police Threaten Bar Owner, using pretext of noise violations.Despite this approval, since 2013 there has been a rash of complaints from one local resident and one local politician, Township Supervisor Michael Jordan.

 

According to Perrine, she spoke with the resident filing the repetitive complaints against JD’s Tap House. This individual was clear that she would do everything she could to “shut the place down“, says Perrine. This escalated into dozens of complaints from this seemingly vindictive individual over the last two years. Later, when being served a subpoena, this individual made it clear that she didn’t want bikers in her neighborhood.

 

These complaints have been used by LCE to engage in a campaign of harassment even though JD’s is operating within the allotted allowable time slots.

 

Reporting LCE Threat to Owners Children Leads to Increased Harassment

 

Despite being issued zoning approval, the campaign of LCE harassment began on July 1, 2013. Michelle received a visit from Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE), a division of the State Police, where she was, in her estimation, threatened by an LCE officer. Michelle writes to the MPP:

 

Here is the exact threat..I received a visit from an LCE enforcement officer…he stated that if I had music for that Bike Night I would be arrested. He asked me for..and I gave him..My license, SS Card, address, and birth date. He tapped himself on his heart and said, “you know Michelle, the only thing worse than going to Jail, would be if something were to happen to one of my children.” I took off my sunglasses, pushed them across the table in his direction and stated, “are you threatening my children?” He responded with “No” .. That occurred on July 1st 2013.

 

I called the State Police Ethics Commission on July 7th and asked them a general question regarding the LCE’s behavior. I was asked to divulge who the officer was. After I was promised no retribution, I told them his name. That’s when all of this fun started (they continually blasted me with citations).”

 

Further evidence seems to validate the suspicion that JD’s Tap House is a target of agency harassment. Perrine articulates a strange incident in which, in her words:

 

The LCE told me – after I asked if I could meet with this neighbor that “if I approached this neighbor or any of my agents approached this neighbor, that I would go to jail for terroristic threats.” Perrine says, “I have been told that I would be arrested for terroristic threats if bikers drive down a certain road.”

 

The Local Police told me to try to keep “my bikers off a side road where the neighbor complaining lives”….Perrine stresses, “I have never had any difficulties with the local police department– they have never even been called to my bar for any disturbances… It’s been strictly the LCE working in cooperation with the Local Politicians…”

 

 

 

The Owner Faces Criminal Charges

 

The LCE used these complaints to justify misdemeanor criminal charges against Michelle Perrine for disturbing the peace. Local news media reported on the criminal charges and announced the upcoming trial in Spring 2015. (See “Bar owner facing trial over noise violations“, Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014).

 

During a preliminary hearing to determine whether criminal charges would be filed, the LCE officer that Perrine says initially threatened her “said he wasn’t aware of the zoning variance” that legally permitted music at JD’s Tap House. This officer also confirmed that all complaints had been filed by a local resident and West Mead Township Supervisor Michael Jordan.

 

[LCE Officer] Nicholson said the noise complaints against Perrine were lodged by the McQueens and Jordan…Konzel then called Jordan as a witness. When she asked Jordan if he ever lodged a noise complaint with the LCE, Jordan said, “No.”

(see Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014)

 

Under oath, Mr. Jordan’s testimony appears to be false. The following document is an investigation report filed August 12, 2014 by LCE officer Nicholson validating that Mr. Jordan indeed was the original complainant  against JD’s Tap House.

Police_Threaten_bar_owner_document1

 

Perrine, on the day of the trial in May 2015, pled no contest in order to receive a reduced $100 fine. On December 14th LCE sent Michelle a notice to be prepared to show cause why her license should not be revoked and why she should not be fined because she was found guilty of a crime (the reduced fine plea).

police_threaten_bar_owner_document2

 

Despite prohibitions against discrimination, many times owners of establishments are hesitant to stand up against authorities because the results of harassment are real and tangible. The end result is “no colors” policies and less access to public places. The Perrines estimate that they have lost 39% of their income since this harassment began. Even though they refuse to deny bikers access, the financial impact resulting from this campaign of harassment may ultimately cause them to shut their doors having the same end result.

 

What to Take Away From All of This

 

Police_threaten_bar_owner_true_biker_barPolice and Liquor Control harassment of any establishment because they choose to serve  bikers is discrimination and is prohibited. Utilizing a pretext like noise violations, particularly considering the often prejudicial source of those complaints as claimed in this case, does not excuse or permit this discrimination. Selective enforcement of the law also violates the equal protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

 

If nothing is done to combat this type of discrimination, if bikers don’t unite at the grassroots level and lobby for change, then motorcyclists will continue to lose their rights base at an accelerated pace. The right to freely associate and express that association is a fundamental liberty that must be fought for in order that it be preserved.

 

Currently that right is being taken away from motorcyclists one establishment at a time. It’s time to mobilize and use the democratic process and the power of numbers to take them all back.

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About the Author

David

is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. Contact: Send Email,



DISCLAIMER: Although comments are encouraged and appreciated, not all comments will be posted by Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC. The Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC appreciates oppositional viewpoints but will not post any comments that do not contribute to a respectful and meaningful discussion or are blatantly discriminatory or otherwise offensive. Resubmissions will be considered at the commenter's request.


25 Responses to Pennsylvania Township Threatens Bar Owner

  1. Avatar Pat says:

    Get a hold of ABATE in your area Iam sure they will b interested in Something like this I been a member for 25 yrs

    • Avatar Anonymous says:

      ABATE is getting deeply involved in this! Dan and Michelle are both members of Crawford County and gold star supporter. We are currently working on a district level and will soon have support from the state,

  2. Avatar TinCan says:

    Film it, Tape it, Record calls, Find atty with Cajones, sue hell out of them under all the federal statutes you can find.

  3. Avatar Roo says:

    Typo Correction The bar in question is in Meadville pa in Crawford County and I am prouf to consider the owners my friends

  4. not sure what I can do, but I would help in anyway I could, support the bar owners rights, I don’t have a motorcycle I use to and I would really like to ride again, but the rights of the bikers to patronize any establishment is discrimination , what bothers me the most is that a person has threatened a childes safety and got away with it, plus the continious harassment of the owners, this has to be delt with on a state level by contacting our congressman , our governor, and all state reps. let me know if there is anyway I can help, Thank You Reverend Don Brislin

    • Avatar Michelle Perrine says:

      Reverend Brislin,

      This is Michelle Perrine.. Thank you for your offer… Please pray for us, pray for our employees, and pray for resolution to this problem….

      I can be reached at [REDACTED]. Thank you for your offer of help….

      I am a christian and believe in the power of prayer….

  5. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I was there in April of last year with the girls getaway from erie and had a blast and we all came from scooters erie and were on a school bus not right thought your bar was awesome and food to maybe neighbor needs to go to your bar and try the food

  6. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Why is that if you ride a motorcycle you must be in a gang and violent? J.D’s is a great establishment and has been. Yes, there are plenty of ppl out that will be glad to stand up and fight right by your side. It’s sad that the ppl who are supposed to help us often take a turn for the bad. This is a case of that without a doubt.

  7. Avatar Anonymous says:

    This should be a stop on all bike runs for here on out. It is a shame that 2 people have this much power to try and destroy someone liveyhood.. I have never been to this establishment myself but I will absolutely visit when I am in town.. they need more support than ever. Good luck god bless and have a Merry Christmas

  8. Avatar Not a Biker says:

    First of all, someone has been watching too much “Sons of Anarchy”. The bikers in our area are great people, most with good jobs and families, who raise money continually for charitable causes and who rally together for the community.
    Secondly; when you purchase a home in a business zoned area you pretty much take your chances on who your neighbors are going to be. I don’t know the full history, but JDs Taphouse is not the first bar to occupy that land. I am curious to know if the homeowners have a history of creating issues with their previous neighbors. The homeowner still has the option to sell and move to a neighborhood where the zoning is residential only. What they do not have a right to do is to tell a legal business owner how to run their business as long as that business is operating within the law.
    Thirdly: Motorcycles themselves are loud. Unless someone wants to lobby bike manufacturers to muffle the noise, I do see discrimination being implied against the owner of JDs, as he is clearly not responsible for the noise being made by the motorcycles themselves, and would have no control, legal or otherwise, over how his patrons arrive to his establishment.

  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I do not ride a bike, but I do frequent this establishment as many others in the area do. Michelle is a fantastic host for special events and I’ve never been treated with anything less than respect by employees and patrons alike. Keep doing what you’re doing Michelle!

  10. Avatar Anonymous says:

    My husband and I both ride & have gone to MANY ride benefits for Veterans, Police Officers, Firefighters, etc. we belonged to a club that that was their sole purpose. We now ride for the American Legion! I am so sorry this is happening. We are both originally from Erie, PA. I hope you find some kind of solution other than closing your doors. Politics at work.

  11. Avatar Trevor Lahey says:

    It’s not like the rats at Weber Harris Ford across the street are any more quiet. They are always yelling over their outdoor loudspeaker, especially when they are busy ripping people off at their “sales” late into the night. These people need to get a life and grow up. Best of luck JD’s.

  12. Avatar Mike says:

    I would contact my local State Rep. This is well within their jurisdiction to speak directly to the LCE, LCB concerning this matter. This is where, if they chose not to back down, you inform them that you will seek damages for civil rights violations in Federal Court. Guarantee you they will back down because they are too lazy to fight it as well as being wrong and not wanting outside attention brought to the matter. But you must follow through.

    • Avatar Michelle Perrine says:

      Mike,

      We have been in contact with Rep Brad Roae, Senator Bob Robbins, State Ethics Commission, LCE and LCB. All to no avail. They listen and then state their is nothing they can do.

      Right now the current citation is that ” since I plead no contest to a summary offense” I am a person of ill repute and should not be allowed to hold a liquor license.

  13. Avatar Anonymous ABATE Member says:

    Dan and Michelle are being VERY proactive and VERY professional about this situation. I would expect nothing less from them. They are great people with great intentions. The support for them in this situation is pouring in.

  14. Avatar Faye says:

    This story saddens me as it is another instance where the initial fines are too great to pay so one takes the plea being led to believe it will stop there. This is no longer the case. The astronomical costs for an innocent party to defend themselves (isn’t the law suppose to be innocent until proven guilty) in the system and being offered a wayout through a plea bargain has become the norm. This is not only unconstitutional but criminal of our tax paid servants (police…judges…etc…). We ARE THE PEOPLE and they better start remembering that. Perhaps living next to a Moske (spelling?) would suit this neighbor lady better? It’s not the bar she fears..it’s the fear of any terror which has been instilled through media and our own higher up government. If an attack of anyone were to happen….the bikers are the ones who would protect their country and any American they could.
    The PA gme Commission just did the same to me with an astronomical fine that I could not afford so I had to avoid an appeal to get the ability to make payments and now Nationally I am restricted from any license fishing hunting or trapping. The law is there to protect “We The People” the power of the title has gone to the enforcers head. Don’t forget…WE ARE THEIR EMPLOYERS

  15. Pingback: Pennsylvania Township Threatens Bar Owner - Central PA Confederation of Clubs

  16. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I’ve only visited this establishment one time and it was a good expierience. The food was great and our waitress was equally great. a group of us are planning on returning to JDs in February.
    Fight the good fight.
    Best of luck Michelle and Dan.

  17. Avatar James Tree Shields says:

    JDs is a great place to meet and talk, I am a biker, not that matters, all peoples are welcome there…Plus they have great food…Its a family place, never saw any trouble of any kind. They run a first class operation..Best of luck Michelle and Dan…James Tree Shields…

  18. Avatar larry says:

    I have only been there twice. Both times was a fund raiser to help someone in need. I don’t drink much or often, but will make sure I stop in for a meal from time to time to try to help out. I do ride a bike… but have enough respect to make sure I have a legal exhaust system that will not rattle the dead. My guess is the exhaust noise is more likely the reason for the noise complaint.
    I spent plenty of weekend late nights just down the street in the day at the Rocking Horse.

  19. Avatar Dan Stanfield says:

    This is a very disturbing article. Having grown up in Meadville I can recall when that establishment was The Junction. Since it took on new ownership it has become a MUCH better place to socialize. Michelle and Dan are among the many friendly bar owners in the area that appreciate and recognize local veterans (myself included) and treat everyone with respect. Music, especially live performances, are a very special treat at JD’s, along with their unique selection of beverages. Coming from a background in law enforcement, this is all the more disturbing to hear. I hope this gets resolved before too much damage is done to either side.

  20. Avatar Bam says:

    That’s pretty bad that the only reason they give us bikers shit is because they don’t have the balls to really meet us and take the time to get to know us.we’ve done runs to pay for a funeral we have done run for kids we’ve done runs for cancer they had bennifits for people down on their luck and having either themselves or a family member needing help for hospital bills.hell you can’t go to a business mans bar and get them to help anyone or give money for a cause unless it’s a tax rite off you can take ur kids to a biker event and know the are safe and we are all one big family when my gf had cancer I didn’t see any fussiness or township worring about how she was but Dan and Michelle did they don’t just try to run a fussiness but they treat you as they care because they do.and there is not one other bar in this town that the cops aren’t there all tie time and why can’t he’s have music and fun but yet bootleggers can have party’s inside and out load as hell

  21. Avatar nick d. says:

    Was a trooper for 20 years, this is not unusual by any means. The state bought a new radio system for the PSP and spent nearly a billion dollars and the thing doesn’t work and never will. They just went to the state legislature to ask for more money to try again (you all should watch these hearings when they are on PCN) The state, and the federal prosecutors to an even greater extent, use this threat of high fines and imprisonment to force you into a guilty plea. Sadly, the majority of lawyers will take your money and either tell you to plead guilty or put on a lame defense and watch your life go down the drain. If you have the money, hire a “super-lawyer.” These are the Johnnie Cochrans and won’t take a case unless they can win. It may be expensive, but they will at least tell you if the “fix” is in.

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