An owner of Bangkok Paradise disputed that account. With so many restaurants downtown attracting hundreds of young people, he said, it was not fair to single out one place. He also defended his doormen’s actions.
A lawyer for the business issued a statement saying the “unfortunate incident” occurred “across Washington Street in front of what used to be the Greenland Cafe.”
“The nature and cause of that incident is unknown,” the statement said. “However, once aware of the incident, the trained Bangkok Paradise staff knew better than to run across Washington Street to blindly get involved and risk serious injury. To be clear, the incident did not occur in the Bangkok Paradise, nor on its premises, and the personnel and staff did not act inappropriately at any time with respect to this matter.”
Police, however, appear to be drawing a link between the restaurant and last weekend’s trouble.
“I think you’d almost be negligent to ignore the fact that at least part of it is emanating from that location,” Gilligan said.
In recent weeks, that establishment has come under increased scrutiny.
The city’s Licensing Board is holding a hearing on Bangkok Paradise next Tuesday on issues stemming from a Sept. 1 incident.
Before this weekend, Gilligan said police will be communicating with the owners of a number of bars.
“We’re definitely going to be looking at a variety of options,” he said. “There’s going to be kind of a zero-tolerance policy down there.”
In 2008, police had to deal with a similar situation in the downtown, leading to a crackdown on another Washington Street establishment. At that time, under the leadership of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, downtown bars contributed to a fund used to hire extra police officers on weekends. They also adopted a get-tough policy, which imposed a six-month ban on any patron arrested, placed in protective custody or involved in an incident.
The Salem Restaurant Task Force has decided to start up the “one-strike-you’re-out” policy again, according to Chamber Executive Director Rinus Oosthoek.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.