Update: Licensing Board found the club had adequate staffing and could not have foreseen the problem, so no violation.
The owners of Macumba Latina on River Street in Mattapan say they have stopped Thursday-night events that were heavily promoted in Brockton following a July incident in which River Street was shut by knots of people throwing punches at each other.
Club attorney William Rehrey told the Boston Licensing Board this morning that they had never tried soliciting business in Brockton before but that as the state let clubs re-open following the pandemic, they hired a promoter to drum up business for new Thursday-night dances.
"As we all know, businesses like Macumba Latina took a real hit with the pandemic," he said. "They hired promoters and these promoters focused on getting patrons to come from the Brockton area. It was a first for the licensee."
Thursday, July 22, which was to be the third such night, was looking to be great, Max Fernandes, who co-owns the club with Joao Lopes, said: He got a lot of calls about tables and that night, receipts were way up. "It was one of the biggest nights at Macumba," he said, adding the two prior Thursdays had gone off without a hitch.
But things went south shortly before closing, Boston Police and Fernandes said: First, police say, two women got into a fight inside the club - one woman objected to another talking to her man, so she punched her several times in the face.
Fernandes said neither he nor Lopes saw any women fighting. But Fernandes said that as he turned up the lights around 1:45 a.m. and the 11 bouncers on duty began trying to usher people out, two groups began verbal jousting. Fernandes said he separated the groups, but that as they were leaving, a member of one of the groups punched a member of the other.
As the roughly 210 people inside began to exit, fights began to break out, at first right in front of the club, but then, BPD Lt. Adrian Troy said, the pugilists "moved to the middle of River Street while still fighting." Rehrey said club bouncers managed to break up some of the fights down the street from the club. A detail officer assigned to the club, assisted by other officers arriving from District B-3, broke up other fights, but more then broke out. There was "screaming inside the club," Troy said. Police rushed in and broke up a fight between two men inside the club.
Rehrey said that while the incident was unfortunate, nobody was injured enough to require a trip to the hospital and that police made no arrests. More important: The club is no longer trying to drum up business in Brockton. "They've stopped the promotions," he said. "They aren't doing the promotions in the Brockton area at all."
He added that "two Thursdays prior, there were patrons that came in from the Brockton area and nothing happened," and the club was not expecting any trouble. Still, because of the large volume of people expected, Fernandes did bring in a couple of extra bouncers.
Fernandes acknowledged the Brockton crowd was different from his usual crowd: People mostly under 25, compared to his regulars, who are typically between 30 and 50.
The licensing board could decide at a meeting Thursday whether the end of the Brockton nights is enough or whether the incident merits further punishment.