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NYPD Drained Brooklyn Bar's Liquor Stock by Mistake, Owner Says

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By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 21, 2012 5:49 AM

A liquor license mix-up with the NYPD has left David Kelleran out thousands of dollars in alcohol, according to a complaint he filed in federal court.

Last year, the bar owner sent a check to the New York State Liquor Authority to cover the liquor license at his bar, '68.' The check bounced and he was told to pay it within 10 days or lose his liquor license.

Five days later, cops showed up at his other establishment, 'Coco 66,' and shut it down for operating without a liquor license. Then they did something that was questionably legal.

The NYPD poured out all the alcohol in the bar, according to the allegations made by Kelleran.

But New York law doesn't allow for police to destroy property without notice, Kelleran's lawyer, Craig Trainor, told the New York Post.

He makes a good point since even when police confiscate material, it isn't destroyed. In this case, it's even worse since Kelleran doesn't appear to have done anything wrong.

'Coco 66' still had its liquor license and even '68' would have been covered for five more days if everything Kelleran says is true.

The bar has been closed since all the liquor was drained which happened back in July 2011, according to the Huffington Post.

NYPD haven't commented on the case and they may have some protection for the harm done to Kelleran. State officials do have some limited immunity against injury claims.

If this was limited to a misidentification that was reasonable, the NYPD might not be on the hook for wrongfully shutting down one of Kelleran's bars.

The fact that they allegedly acted before his time was up and they reportedly dumped out all of his alcohol makes the issue more complicated.

Given that Kelleran filed this suit in federal court there's a good chance the NYPD won't have immunity in this case. Otherwise he'd have gotten different counsel from his attorney.

It could end up being an expensive raid for the NYPD if it's shown that the liquor license was valid. Your tax dollars, hard at work.

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