Restaurant owner fined, liquor license suspended in connection with fight

July 07, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

The owner of the Taj India restaurant in downtown Hagerstown has paid a $2,500 fine levied by Washington County liquor officials for staying open past operating hours May 23, when a fight involving several people occurred behind the business.

The Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, imposed the fine in a letter that was sent June 7 to Asth Vinayak LLC at 28 S. Potomac St. The business, which paid the fine Tuesday, also was handed a 30-day liquor license suspension and was placed on probation until Jan. 6, 2011.

Liquor Board Chairman Robert L. Everhart said Wednesday that the board could have revoked Taj India's liquor license.

"We felt one way or another, we had to get their attention," Everhart said.

Raj Agarwal, Taj India's owner, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the business' liquor license suspension ended Tuesday.

"We're serving alcohol again," he said.


Agarwal declined further comment, other than to say that he now closes at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Taj India was operating until 2 a.m. on weekends when the fight occurred in May.

According to Hagerstown Police Department documents, officers responded May 23 to a possible shooting just after 2 a.m. in the parking deck behind Taj India.

"When I arrived on the third floor of the deck, several people advised that the people that were fighting had already left," Officer Langley Dean wrote in a Hagerstown Police Department supplemental report. "I had quickly spoke with several people asking if there was a gun involved in the fight and they all advised no. There were several broken glass bottles found throughout the parking deck. The parking deck was checked by officers but no evidence of a shooting were discovered."

Police reports quote several witnesses saying the fight started in the restaurant and moved outside, while other witnesses claimed the fight began in the parking deck. One officer reported that 150 people were in the parking garage when police arrived.

Reports show that no one was arrested in connection with the fight, but two people were charged that night for interfering with the investigation.

Bradley Alexander, 26, of 18 W. Bethel St. in Hagerstown, was charged with one count each of failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, second-degree assault, resisting/interfering with arrest, and obstructing and hindering.

Autumn Michelle Parson, 27, of 4371 Tal Fair Blvd. No. 103 in Suitland, Md., was charged with one count each of failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, and obstructing and hindering.

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