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LIMA — As the Lima Police Department objects to a renewal of a liquor license for the Brownstone bar and restaurant, its owner is accusing police of fabricating and exaggerating evidence.Since Jan. 1, 2011, police have responded to the Brownstone, 337 N. Elizabeth St., 47 times for calls such as shots fired and fights in the parking lot, illegal drugs inside the bar, after-hours sales of alcohol and underage intoxicated people leaving the bar, Lima Police Department Chief Kevin Martin said in a letter to City Council.On one occasion, police responded to someone in the parking lot who had been shot. On another occasion, shots were fired at a police cruiser when officers responded to a “shots fired” call.Martin is asking council to object to the liquor license renewal. Council will vote on the matter Monday. The objection would mean a hearing with an officer from the Ohio Liquor Commission. The hearing officer would make a recommendation to the commission, which would decide on the renewal.Brownstone owner Jason Upthegrove is also president of the Lima chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He said police target gathering spots of African-Americans, and they have a personal vendetta against him because he is the city's chief critic of the department over issues such as racial profiling and excessive force against suspects.“Any time large amounts of African-Americans are congregating, they assume everyone is involved in some criminal activity. They are hell-bent on taking away from that community any place they go to seek entertainment, some food or an alcoholic beverage,” Upthegrove said. “They are angry because they can't control me. This police department, any time a black man in particular speaks up and advocates for others, they're going to participate in an active vendetta to put an African-American male in his place. It is lies and corruption at the highest level. They are the most despicable individuals you will ever see.”Upthegrove said police fabricated and exaggerated evidence because Martin is personally angry with Upthegrove's criticisms and that Martin is using the Brownstone to further his career.On two occasions, Lima police officers took cups and bottles from his trash and used them as evidence he was serving alcohol after hours, Upthegrove said. Upthegrove also said the shots fired calls happened near his bar, including in an alley behind it, not at his bar.Martin denied the evidence allegations, but he also declined to respond to other specific allegations from Upthegrove.“It's not the kind of thing to be tried in the public, in the media,” Martin said. “That's why there are processes in place, the hearing. As far as planting or fabricating evidence, that is absolutely not true. We'll present the case to the liquor commission and accept the outcome, whatever it may be.”State liquor permits are renewed annually. Allen County is in a region of the state that comes up for renewal by June 1. Objections must be postmarked by May 2. Upthegrove also questioned why the department doesn't object to renewals at other bars with which it has had enforcement issues.One of those, J's at the Teau, is on council's agenda Monday. Martin said the department is not objecting because it is a transfer to a new owner who approached Lima Police Department and Allen County Sheriff's Office about plans to address the problems.“Our objective is to not run bars out of Lima but have places where people can go and feel safe and not have neighbors negatively impacted,” Martin said.The last time the department objected to a renewal was a year ago, for Koolers, 940 Bellefontaine Ave., which had generated nine police reports from January to April 2011. Koolers is now closed.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.



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