A party at a Kenosha tavern exploded into a scene Kenosha Police officers described as “completely chaotic” and “complete confusion and madness.”
According to a Kenosha Police report, two people had rented the White Horse Saloon — formerly Finney’s Lounge, 2208 60th St. — for a “March Madness” party on Friday.
The tavern just received a liquor license and provisional cabaret license in January, with plans calling for the business to operate as a sports bar with facilities on the first floor and basement.
After fights broke out at the party and spilled out onto the street, police had to call in help from neighboring departments to try to control the crowd.
One of the listed owners, Xavier Solis, said he had no comment about the incident. He declined to confirm whether the bar had even officially opened.
“He will certainly have some answering to do,” said Curt Wilson, chairman of the City Council’s Licensing and Permits Committee.
But Wilson said when that happens will depend on what the committee sees from Kenosha Police.
“Until we see a police report on it, there is no action by the committee. ... And there may not be any action until renewal in June.”
Triggered by noise complaint
According to a police report, officers were called to the tavern at 12:15 a.m. Saturday for a noise complaint, with a caller saying noise from the bar was rattling windows of nearby businesses.
Officers who arrived found a security guard at the door who refused to give his name or answer questions, according to a police report.
The officers went inside and spoke to a woman who said she and another person had rented the facility for a party and that they had DJs for entertainment in the bar’s basement.
They were charging a $20 cover, and said that people 19 and older were allowed in.
No alcohol was being served at the bar, which police confirmed.
Fight breaks out
While officers were speaking to people on the largely empty first floor, a fight broke out downstairs and, according to police, private security guards used pepper spray and a stun gun to break up the fight in the basement, causing the crowd of an estimated 150 to 300 people to rush to get up the stairs.
Police struggled to get downstairs against the crowd of people running upstairs, and at least one officer was sickened by fumes from pepper spray in the basement. Other officers went into a bathroom to escape the fumes.
Outside, multiple fights broke out among the fleeing crowd, according to the report, and police heard gunfire coming from west of the bar.
“We were vastly outnumbered and struggled to control this very large and hostile crowd,” one officer wrote.
Police called for help from neighboring jurisdictions, with Pleasant Prairie and Racine police and a Wisconsin State Trooper coming to help.
One officer described a teenage girl unconscious on the ground who was being trampled by the crowd.
Police called for an ambulance for the girl, but people from the crowd were trying to pull the unconscious girl from police.
“It felt like a tug-of-war situation,” and officer wrote. “The crowd was so out of control I dragged the victim over to the side of the building so I could have cover for my back.”
The injured girl, 17, was taken to a hospital for treatment of what doctors said was a concussion.
One person, a 20-year-old man, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Three people, including the two people who had organized the party and one of the bar owners, received citations for operating without an entertainment licence.
“I think we all have to be happy that there were no really serious injuries,” Wilson said.