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Police Raid Mazaar Lounge After Patrons Attack Officers, NYPD Says

By Allegra Hobbs | March 15, 2017 2:10pm
 Mazaar Lounge is located at 137 Essex St.
Mazaar Lounge is located at 137 Essex St.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

LOWER EAST SIDE — Police raided a controversial hookah bar Sunday morning after multiple patrons — including an underage man who was previously charged for a violent East Village robbery — attacked police officers who came to break up a fight outside, authorities said.

Mazaar Lounge at 137 Essex St. — which has been blasted by neighbors and the local community board for its loud music, free shots and unruly patrons — was raided by the NYPD around midnight Sunday and hit with 21 violations from the State Liquor Authority, according to police. 

The raid was carried out after a violent incident early Saturday morning in which several bar patrons assaulted police officers after being booted from the lounge, police said.

Management told everyone to clear out around 3:50 a.m. Saturday when the bar became too crowded, at which point patrons spilled out into the street, police said. Several of the customers then got into a fight, with officers arriving to break up the melee, authorities said. 

Aman Concepcion, 20, punched two officers in the face several times, according to a criminal complaint. He also pushed several other officers and kicked an officer while refusing to be handcuffed, police said. He was charged with assaulting a police officer, court records show.

Patricia Rivera, 27, choked two officers during the altercation, causing them pain and difficulty breathing, according to a criminal complaint.

A total of five police officers sustained injuries while attempting to arrest Concepcion and Rivera, the complaint added. One of the officers, who was punched by Concepcion and choked by Rivera, received treatment at a hospital after the altercation, records show.

A 25-year-old woman was also arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration after she tried to impede the arrests of others, police said. 

Mazaar Lounger general manager Ariel Rodriguez said the bar had been working with police since the incident, noting Concepcion may not have been drinking in their establishment.

Surveillance footage did not show him entering the bar and his name did not appear on the bar's ID scanner, though he may have been using a fake ID, Rodriguez claimed.

"We don't know if that person got drunk somewhere else or if he got into Mazaar with a different ID," he said.

However, police said Concepcion admitted in interviews to drinking at Mazaar that night.

Concepcion was arrested in 2014 for punching a man in the face and body with two other attackers in the East Village and snatching the victim's belongings while he was on the ground, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in 2015 and was sentenced to a treatment program by a judge, prosecutors added.

Rodriguez claimed the State Liquor Authority violations — including not having the bar's liquor license in a frame — were "small" and "nothing life-threatening." 

The SLA did not provide information on the violations.

Community Board 3 in February shot down Mazaar's request for support in its bid to renew its liquor license, noting the lounge flouts liquor laws by handing out free shots, keeps neighbors awake by blasting music at all hours and ignores community complaints.

The lounge's liquor license is set to expire on March 31, SLA records show.

Attorneys for Concepcion and Rivera did not immediately return a request for comment.