Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed charges alleging that a Boston Irish bar refused to allow or serve African Americans on its premises.
Peggy O’Neil’s pub in the Dorchester neighborhood “engaged in a discriminatory and unlawful pattern of not admitting minorities” the Boston Globe reports.
The Attorney General’s charges detail how a group of locals went to Peggy O’Neil’s to celebrate a birthday but the black and minority people in the group were not allowed in.
The people left outside were African American, Hispanic and Cape Verdean said the lawsuit.
The birthday celebrant, who was white, was allowed in and she tried to get her friends to be allowed inside with her but the owner, Caron O’Neil refused.
“When it became clear that they were not going to be allowed into Peggy O’Neil’s to celebrate their friend’s birthday, the friends left the bar feeling hurt, confused, and embarrassed,’’ according to the suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges that such incidents occurred on three different occasions at the bar.
“No one who lives, works, or visits Massachusetts should be subjected to discrimination,’’ Coakley said in a statement.
However Caron O’Neil is taking strong exception to the lawsuit.
“Absolutely, we do not discriminate against anybody...We’re a Dorchester neighborhood bar. That’s our customer base,’’she told the Globe.
Peggy O’Neil’s has been a fixture in Dorchester for over 50 years and is named after family matriarch, Irishwoman Peggy O’Neil who died last May.
The law suit also alleges that Amilton Baptista and an African-American friend were discriminated against on December 17th last.
The waited outside as ten white people were allowed in but they were refused.
Eventually owner Caron O’Neil allegedly came out and asked them if it was their first time there and advised them to leave.“We don’t want any trouble tonight. I don’t know you guys, and you should try to find another place to go” she told them according to the lawsuit.
Baptista’s brother was also refused entry and watched as dozesn of white people were allowed entry.
“Many of those same Caucasian patrons who were allowed into Peggy O’Neil’s appeared to be intoxicated and were dressed more casually,’’ the suit alleges. “The friends also saw the bouncer reprimand a Caucasian patron for a problem with her identification card, telling her she could ‘get in trouble,’ and proceeding to allow her into the bar.’’
When Caron O’Neil came outside, the suit alleges she told the group: “We don’t like people of your kind here. We’ve been doing this for a while and it’s been working fine and we don’t want any problems. . . . I’m not letting you people in.’’
On April 23, three black women and a white man were also refused entry and police were called after an altercation with O’Neil.