Coco66 owner David Kelleran sues NYPD for liquor license raid

Lawsuit: Police raided the wrong Greenpoint bar

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cops conducted a Prohibition-style raid on a Greenpoint watering hole — but they burst through the wrong door and forced a law-abiding business to go bottom up, according to an angry nightlife entrepreneur.

Officers were acting on a personal vendetta and violated bar owner David Kelleran’s right to due process when they poured thousands of dollars of booze down the drain at his Greenpoint Avenue bar Coco66, when it was his next-door restaurant 68 that actually had problems with its liquor license, lawyer Craig Trainor argues in his case against the NYPD.

“Clearly established constitutional rights secure our liberty against arbitrary government intrusion,” said Trainor. “The utter and complete lawlessness exhibited by the NYPD in this case shocks the conscience.”

Police said last year that they arrested Kelleran and raided Coco66 after the bar’s liquor license expired.

Trainor acknowledges that Kelleran bounced a check renewing his liquor license with the State Liquor Authority — but he insists that Coco66 had a valid license.

Instead, he claims it was 68 that had issues with non-payment.

That didn’t stop cops from entering both businesses and pouring out Kelleran’s liquid livelihood, Trainor claims.

“Parties have procedural rights,” said Trainor. “There is a seizure and voucher process. There is paperwork and numbers assigned, and property is secured and safeguarded. It is not supposed to be dumped down a drain.”

And after bouncing the check for 68’s renewed liquor license, Trainor says Kelleran should have had ten days to send in another payment.

But cops burst into the businesses after five days.

Kelleran, who is suing for unspecified damages and never managed to reopen Coco66, said last year that he did not see a warning letter from the State Liquor Authority until three days after the raid.

Trainor claims Greenpoint cops marked Coco66 as a target long before the raid — pointing to quotes by 94th Precinct deputy inspector Terence Hurson that appeared in a Brooklyn Paper article shortly after the raid and are now part of the lawsuit.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while — we’ve had noise complaints about the place,” Hurson told this newspaper after the incident.

The 94th Precinct, the NYPD’s press office, and the city’s Law Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Kelleran, who was kept in jail overnight following the raid, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct — a violation — for selling liquor without a license.

But Trainor said that plea should not effect the pending civil case.

When he spoke with this newspaper last year, Kelleran said Coco66 had made some enemies in the community.

“We don’t fit into this neighborhood — the neighborhood has Yuppified,” Kelleran said back then. “We’ve been abused. They’re trying to put us out of business. They don’t want us there.”

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Reader Feedback

ty from pps says:
I have a feeling this Kelleran fella is not the most savory of individuals, but I really hope he wins his lawsuit and the city (and *we* as taxpayers) have to pay out big for this NYPD bull crap. Ray Kelly and his goons need to learn that their job is as much about community building as it is flexing their muscles...

The fact that the NYPD continually shows ignorance of the law and a total disregard for proper procedures just reinforces the perception that they are just a bunch of bullies.
Aug. 20, 2012, 9:23 am
jim from greenpoint says:
How come you didn't interview the commanding officer of the 94 pct. like Aaron Short would have. This isn't journalism you just rewrote the DL article.
Aug. 20, 2012, 10:52 am
Junebug from Greenpoint says:
The 94th has a history of selective policing...I lived across the street from the Club Europa for five years; every Saturday night at 4 a.m. the place would let out dozens of loud, drunken patrons, who would get into their cars (but not before waking up half the neighborhood with loud laughing, yelling, and car stereos blasting with complete disrespect for those of us who were trying to sleep) and driving off, clearly DUIs or DWIs in progress, and I observed but never saw one cop present to keep the peace, let alone stop these drivers from potentially killing themselves or someone else--and the 94th precinct is right next door to the club. Yep. Perhaps you read about how ten years ago two cops were busted for selling drugs in the same club...makes you think, no?
Aug. 21, 2012, 3:27 pm
Pete from Park Slope says:

June Bug is correct. Lot of selective policing in
Greenpoint, and the chief saw too many Untouchables T V shows, -when all liquor everywhere was illegal.
The number of incidents where the boys in blue don't follow correct procedure in Brooklyn is dpsturbing.
I hope this bar owner wins his suit.
Aug. 22, 2012, 8:46 pm
David Kelleran is a BUM I am glad the police are watching him
Jan. 3, 3:38 pm

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