An allegedly illegal after-hours bar on Market Street that had dozens of people partying insider without masks has been shut down, according to public safety director Jerry Speziale.
Jamahl Carter, 48, of Paterson; Jamahl Carter Jr., 28, of New York, NY; and Erica Bush, 32, of Paterson, were arrested for running the La Café Hookah out of 324 Market Street.
Police charged all three with causing or risking widespread injury or damage. Both Carters were issued summonses for selling alcohol without a license or special permit, not having entrainment license, indoor smoking, allowing consumption of liquor other than beer and wine, maintaining a nuisance, and playing loud music.
Bush was additionally charged with obstruction of a governmental function. She was issued summonses for aiding and abetting the sale of alcohol without a license or special permit, no entertainment license, indoor smoking, allowing the consumption of alcohol other than beer and wine, maintaining a nuisance, and playing loud music.
Police seized $2,540 from Carter, the owner of La Café Hookah. They also seized $132 from the cash register. Police did not seize any cash from Carter Jr., the manager of the joint. Police confiscated $77 from Bush, an employee.
Police officers arrived at 324 Market Street at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday after getting information about an after-hours joint operating at the location. Immediately after their arrival, the door to the business was closed and locked to prevent them from entering.
Officers saw through the tinted windows people inside the business were scrambling, removing hookahs and bottles of liquor. They could see the people taking them out a backdoor that led to a small area with no exit.
Police eventually gained entry. 45 patrons and 8 employees were inside. No patrons or employees were wearing masks. Hookahs were throughout the place and half-empty bottles of alcohol. Card sets were on the tables indicating card games. A DJ was playing music, police said.
Bush tried to hide and conceal evidence of illegal activity at the business, police said. She also resisted arrest.
Police seized eight hookahs, various bottles of alcohol, hookah accessories, and various card sets from the business.
La Café Hookah had “no visible documentation.” The owner could not provide any documents showing the business was registered to operate. They had no business certificate or health inspection papers for serving food.
The business was operating after 10 p.m. in violation of Covid-19 restrictions. Police said the location was the scene of a shooting in November.