Angry Bar Patrons Turn on Traverse City Bartender

Unhappy bar patrons started a fight with Traverse City bartender, and now a downstate couple could be facing felony charges. The General Manager at Dillinger’s Pub says, “Bouncers stepped in and that’s pretty much when all hell broke loose.”

The fight at the downtown Traverse City bar started in an otherwise peaceful scene late Monday night. It involved an unruly table full of customers – and ultimately – a police search for one of their suspects.

The fight spilled out into the street when those customers were cut off. Police Chief Jeff O’Brien says, “It shows good judgment on that bartender, (the) bartender says no, you’re too intoxicated, and we’re not serving you.”

Dillinger’s GM Scott Lama says the man was “loud, obnoxious. (He was) told he was cut off and was not happy about it. The rest of the table were vocal, then they were cut off. Then he came up to our bartender in an aggressive manner.” Lama says the group had been at the bar for only 30-45 minutes. He described the group as “belligerent” and says the man tried to attack the bartender, and a woman also joined in the assault.

Police say punches were thrown and the bouncer had to step in. Chief O’Brien says, “She had assaulted a bar staff, had kicked him in the groin about three times.” Lama adds, “One of our bouncers got some nice scratches, got punched a few times, got kicked in the nether regions. My glasses got broke, stiff-arm to the neck. But we’re fine.”

That scuffle inside the bar soon spilled out on to the street. That’s when police say the 25 year old man grabbed a wooden street barrier and began swinging it at people. The Chief says, “He had taken that triangle portion and was waving it around, was threatening to kill individuals.”

The man took off before police arrived, but came back behind the wheel of a truck, then rammed a squad car and took off again, this time on foot. It broke a tie rod on the patrol car and rendered it inoperable. City and State Police searched for the suspect for the next five hours. The Chief says, “Michigan State Police obtained a picture of him, they were giving it to the hotels. Went to the Park Place, said yep, that guy just came in. We found him later about 6:30 in the morning. He had crashed out in the conference room.” The Chief adds he was found under a table in the fetal position.

The man and woman, both from the Jackson area, are now spending their next night in the Grand Traverse County jail. Chief O’Brien says they could be facing serious charges. “These two individuals are looking at several felony counts: assault on police officer, assault on civilian, felony damage to patrol vehicle, hit and run.”

Lama is thankful for the support of the TCPD. “Police are amazing. Big fans, we’ve always been big fans. We’ve worked well with them in the past, they’re always here when we need them.” Chief O’Brien also credits the bartender for refusing to serve the customers, and has a message for visitors. “If you’re going to come to Traverse City and the bartenders tell you you’re done, you’re done. If you do something like this you’re going to go to jail.”