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Police see Sullivan’s incidents differently


Fredericksburg police and the landlord for F.W. Sullivan’s disagree over the treatment of the downtown restaurant.

Tommy Mitchell, who owns the William Street building where Sullivan’s is, penned an op–ed in Wednesday’s Free Lance–Star that was critical of the way the city and its police department have treated the establishment.

The Fredericksburg Police Department responded Wednesday, saying Sullivan’s brought the attention on itself by failing to regulate the behavior of some  customers.

Here is Fredericksburg Police Department’s full response to that op-ed. Here is a response by City Council member Bea Paolucci. And here is a response from Rebecca Thomas, co-owner of the kybecca wine bar across the street from Sullivan’s.

Meanwhile, the owners of F.W. Sullivan’s say their plans to open a second downtown venture, The Chimneys restaurant, have been delayed due in part to issues with the city at Sullivan’s.

The Chimneys will be at 623 Caroline St. in a historic building across from the Courtyard by Marriott. It will feature fine dining in rooms named after famous Colonial-era men with ties to Fredericksburg.

Jake Crocker and his business partner, Hayden Fisher, intended to open the restaurant months ago and now plan to have it ready around Christmas. Crocker said much of his time of late has been spent speaking with city officials and police.

They’ve also put off until next year plans to open the Mexican-themed Jorge’s Cantina in the former Fatty J’s space at 106 George St.

Sullivan’s typically attracts big crowds on weekend nights. Police have been called there on numerous occasions, including for a broken window that resulted from a January fight outside the business as well as other less-publicized incidents regarding intoxicated customers.

Mitchell’s op–ed argues that all the attention has been unwarranted, and that Fredericksburg should be more welcoming to its businesses.

He included a line saying “city police were even sent to line up across the street from the restaurant toting machine guns and dressed up in riot gear and face masks, as if an armed gang of thugs were holed up inside Sullivan’s planning an assault on our fair city.”

The Police Department’s response said Sullivan’s “provoked the increased attention of law enforcement by failing to adequately regulate the behavior of some of its customers.” It also said many of Mitchell’s claims were inaccurate, calling his claim about the riot gear and face masks “grossly exaggerated.”

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405