BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — A Lafayette Street restaurant that was the scene of an early morning altercation in January was handed a three-day suspension by the Licensing Board.
Brisas del Caribe, 90-101 Lafayette St., was cited for a number of violations resulting from a loud and allegedly violent argument between the restaurant owner, Rosa Hernandez, and Adriano Arias, who was described as a “customer” but said he is a manager. Police said the couple live together.
At a Monday night hearing, the board heard testimony from a police officer who responded to a 911 call at 2:51 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Patrolman Roberson Troncoso said he and Detective Dan Tucker could hear screaming inside the restaurant but could not get anyone to open the door. When they finally gained entrance, Troncoso said they had to use force to arrest Arias, 57, of 61 Lawrence St., who was charged with domestic assault and battery and resisting arrest.
Troncoso said there were open bottles of beer inside and that Arias appeared “very intoxicated.”
Both Hernandez and Arias were at the hearing, testifying on their own behalf and with the help of a translator, Lucy Corchado, president of The Point Neighborhood Association.
They admitted that they were having an argument but denied it was violent, despite police allegations that Hernandez had a cut nose and lip.
“He said he did not hit her, and she corroborated,” Corchado told the board.
Arias said he opened the door for officers and then was pushed to the floor. Troncoso, who speaks Spanish, said it took three officers to gain control of Arias.
The board cited the restaurant for a number of violations, including after-hours drinking and allowing illegalities on the premises, namely domestic assault and battery and resisting arrest. All employees must be out of liquor-license establishments by 2 a.m., according to the board.
Although Brisas del Caribe has been in business 18 years and has a good record, commissioners said they suspended the license because this was a serious incident that drew all five police cruisers on duty that night.
“We fully realize the business is these folks’ livelihood, and we don’t do this lightly,” board member Rick Lee said.
The restaurant was ordered to close March 25 through 27.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.