Bar owner sues Ruston over alleged harassment

Staff writerJuly 7, 2014 

The owner of a Ruston bar has sued the city, contending its police force has unlawfully harassed her, her employees and her customers for at least eight years.

Kye Barker seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress, interference with her business, harassment, defamation and other alleged unlawful acts.

“… these fiscal, mental and emotional injuries were proximately caused by defendants’ negligent conduct,” the lawsuit states.

Attorney Wayne Fricke filed the suit on Barker’s behalf Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court.

City attorney Jennifer Robertson said Monday the city had not yet been served, so it would have no comment.

Barker and her husband bought the Unicorn Sports Bar in 2002. She contends the police harassment began in 2006, after her husband died.

Her suit cites several alleged unlawful acts.

In 2011, the lawsuit alleges, a police officer entered the tavern one day in December and sat for at least 45 minutes while a patron had a drink.

When the man was served a second drink, the officer cited the bartender for serving an intoxicated person, and city officials filed a report with state Liquor Control Board.

An administrative judge found for the Unicorn at a subsequent hearing, the lawsuit states.

The next year, the Unicorn was cited for violating the city’s noise ordinance “based on an alleged complaint without giving Ms. Barker or her employees an opportunity to correct any alleged problem,” according to the suit.

The ticket later was dismissed “because the ordinance was not found to have been violated,” the lawsuit states.

The alleged harassment continues to this day, Barker contends.

Ruston and its police force “continue to observe and harass patrons within the plaintiff’s establishment and target patrons without probable cause, through frequent running of license plates for warrant checks, following patrons to their cars and maintaining an intimidating presence both inside and outside the tavern,” the lawsuit states.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com @TNTAdam

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