LIMA — The head of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People faces up to six months in jail because of crime at his bar, which the police department wants closed.Jason Upthegrove is charged with keeping a disorderly house. He has pleaded not guilty, and his case is pending at Lima Municipal Court.Maj. Chip Protsman of the Lima Police Department said Upthegrove was charged after officers found drugs lying out in the open as well as alcohol past hours on Feb. 17. The charge is against Upthegrove as an individual and not his bar, the Brownstone, 337 N. Elizabeth St.Upthegrove said he is fighting the charge. He said officers accused him of allowing people to smoke marijuana inside the bar, which he disputes. He said he is opposed to drug use and does not want customers inside who are marijuana smokers.“I don't smoke cigarettes. I don't drink, I don't smoke marijuana ... but if you listen to police I'm a quasi drug dealer,” he said.Upthegrove said police found a small amount of marijuana on the floor, which he assumes was dropped by one of his customers that he did not know was carrying the drug. He said he cannot check everyone and is being charged for an act officers said someone else did.Police are seeking to strip Upthegrove of his liquor license, effectively closing the bar. Upthegrove said officials are unfairly targeting him because he has been a strong critic of police procedure and policy, including the fatal police shooting of a woman holding her baby four years ago.“They may not like me because of the stance I took on Tarika Wilson but what would be the benefit of letting someone smoke marijuana in my place?” he said.Upthegrove said if he is charged the superintendent of Lima City Schools could be charged, also, because police officers frequently find drugs in the schools. The superintendent is ultimately responsible for everything in the schools, he said.“If that's the case, why hasn't Karel Oxley been charged?” he said.Protsman said that comparison is unfair. He said Oxley and the city schools do not knowingly allow marijuana inside and should they find it, they notify officers and work with officers to limit drugs.“Schools ask us to come in and walk our dogs and locate it,” he said.Protsman also said police officers are not unfairly targeting Upthegrove. Upthegrove has had a higher than acceptable number of police calls to the bar and is no longer willing to work with officers to correct the problem.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.