Police Respond to "Fight Call" at Heartbreakers
Incident reported only days after owner is asked by council to account for activity at the club
Only days after the owner of Bloomfield’s Heartbreakers’ club was warned by the town council to take better control of his establishment, a fight broke out, resulting in four police units being called to the scene, according to the police.
“On Thursday morning, May 17, at 12:20 am, officers responded to a fight call at Heartbreakers 611 Bloomfield Avenue. They spoke to a patron who said he was hit in the face by one of the bouncers,” said Sergeant Anthony Servedio of the Bloomfield Police Department. “The bouncer said the man was removed because he was too intoxicated and that he didn’t hit anyone.”
However, a witness at the scene told Patch he noticed the commotion and heard “people yelling on the street about a fight.” According to the witness, “The bouncers knocked them all out.”
“The owners and bouncers asked [the unruly] patrons to leave because there had been some sexually inappropriate touching, even for that bar,” said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There were five guys and at least one woman involved. The whole thing degenerated into a fight.”
Servedio said the police report doesn’t back up the allegations. He said no injuries were reported and he was unaware of any sexual incident. He said the case was referred to the court.
At Monday’s council meeting, Heartbreakers owner Jimmy Corrao was asked explain why there have been 12 reported police incidents at his club this year, a higher number than at any other bar in town. Corrao assured the council that he was doing everything he could to prevent trouble. “Believe me, I try hard,” he said. "I run a tight ship."
Corrao said he had installed infrared security cameras and posted certified security guards inside the premises and, on Friday and Saturday nights, an officer from the Bloomfield Police Department was posted outside.
Still, he said certain situations had the potential to spiral out of control. “The minute you tell somebody they’re fired, it’s a tough situation to get them out,” he said. “[An employee] actually even hit me in the face. . . . To remove a female worker is very difficult. I like to call the police.”
Another problem, he said, was intoxicated patrons.
“I’m seeing people getting off the buses -- I don’t know where they’re coming from --and they’re half loaded. And I don’t know they’re loaded. They have three drinks and they become super men.” When it was suggested that the bartenders cut them off, he said, “they go crazy.”
The council warned Corrao that the incidents must stop or he would lose his license. They cited previous incidents associated with the bar, including a homicide in 2009 and a recent incident where an intoxicated patron ran to a nearby diner, got a knife and returned to Heartbreakers. Though no one was injured in that incident, Police Chief Goul told Corrao such incidents were putting his officers at risk.
Mayor McCarthy said it came down to the owner accepting responsibility for what happened in his bar. “I owned a bar for years. You’ve got to be the guy that cuts them off. And means it,” he told Corrao.
Councilman Bernard Hamilton issued the strongest warning of all, telling him, “It sounds like to me you need to change your methods. You need to devise a way of removing them from the premises without them getting unruly . . . I’m strongly suggesting that, if you come back again, you’re not going to get the same conversation from me.”
But Corrao insisted that the high number of police reports was evidence he was cooperating with authority.
“It’s like a Catch-22,” said the owner, who had been instructed to call the police whenever there was an incident. “It’s easier for me to remove the person myself and not have Bloomfield’s finest getting involved. But [authorities are] telling me to do it that way, and I’m going to do it that way.”
“He’s trying to do the right thing, to have his bouncers remove intoxicated people and tell his bartenders not to serve them,” commented Bloomfield Police’s Servedio on Friday. “But you can’t reason with intoxicated people. The intoxicated person gets angry, makes something up and calls the police.”
Patch's attempts to reach Corrao at Heartbreakers Friday were unsuccessful. A recorded message that said the number was out of service.