NAACP supporting Lakewood bar accusing city officials of racial bias

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — A Lakewood bar is at the center of a viral video on social media.

In the video, the owner of “Jumbo’s Bar and Grill” is seen being served with a citation from Jefferson County Health Department officials, accompanied by several officers from the Lakewood Police Department.

Now, the Rocky Mountain National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is getting involved as the owners of the bar hope to open back up for business.

The owners of Jumbo’s are facing allegations from the city: serving alcohol to minors and serving alcohol after hours, to name a few.

Back in June, Jumbo’s was forced to shut down part of its operation, particularly its liquor license, losing out on lots of business.

“You should be protecting your small businesses, you should be encouraging small businesses to thrive,” Portia Prescott, president of the RMNAACP, said.

“Anyone knows what happens with crime on Colfax, and it’s not because of a black-owned business,” Prescott said. “Anytime you bring four to six police officers to simply tell someone we’re here to inspect you or we’re here to tell you cannot operate, that is an intimidation factor.”

Lakewood PD told FOX31 they will accompany any public official who requests their presence and this isn’t unusual.

Police said a previous incident at the bar warranted more police for another visit to Jumbo’s, a claim the owners dispute.

All of it centered on allegations by the city that led to their liquor license being suspended, part of the reason, the city said, was concerns for safety in the surrounding community.

“These owners were blamed for that violence; they need to be protected, they don’t need to be blamed,” Lakewood Councilwoman Anita Springsteen said.

The city’s allegations are unfounded, according to Springsteen.

“I’ve read through the allegations from the city and I did not see specific circumstances where people from this establishment were causing gun violence that you don’t see anywhere else on West Colfax,” Springsteen said.

The City of Lakewood listed a number of incidents around or near the bar dating back to last summer, it said, contributing to its reputation as a dangerous spot.

Jumbo’s had to stop serving alcohol just before the NBA finals, missing out on a lot of business.

The bottom line for the owners of Jumbo’s is they just want to run their business

“Resolution is to allow me to run my business, make a living without being harassed,” Jumbo’s owner Tanesha Howard said. “I just want the city to work with me instead of against me.”

The owners have a hearing with the City of Lakewood on Aug. 29 where they could possibly have their liquor license re-instated.

The Jefferson County Health Department told FOX31 the business is in compliance to serve food, which they do out of food trucks and their catering service.

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