Shuttered Wicker Park bar says it was “scapegoated” by cops

Bar says shutdown is like “punishing a workplace or house of worship for being attacked by a gunman"

Chicago's Wicker Park (Google Maps, iStock)
Chicago's Wicker Park (Google Maps, iStock)

A Wicker Park bar shuttered by police in February after two shootings nearby in four months now says it was scapegoated for a failure to control crime.

Attorneys for the Point and owner Joe Lin filed a request with the city seeking subpoenas and other documents related to the decision, according to Book Club Chicago. The closure was “tantamount to punishing a workplace or house of worship for being attacked by a gunman,” they said.

“We’re doing everything we can in terms of being a business,” Lin said. “We were simply victimized twice with shootings. That’s violence in Chicago. I don’t think the answer is to close my business when we haven’t done anything wrong.”

Crime in Chicago surged during the pandemic. Shootings, carjackings, murders and smash-and-grab robberies have store owners worried about safety just as they are struggling to bring back shoppers and diners. Retail traffic trailed the national average in March amid a rise in violent crime downtown.

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The Point, at 1565 N. Milwaukee Ave. opened last summer in space formerly occupied by the Flat Iron Bar. It had a late-four liquor license, which meant it was able to sell alcohol until 4 a.m. Sunday through Friday and until 5 a.m. Saturdays. It also regularly hosted live music and DJs.

An Oct. 10 shooting left one person dead and four wounded. The alleged assailants had been at the bar and exited before the violence erupted. Lin said he called 911 several times for help because the crowd outside seemed out of control. Another, on Feb. 6, wounded one man just below his right eye and was also connected to patrons at the bar.

The city says a hearing is set for tomorrow on the filing.

[Block Club Chicago] — Miranda Davis

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