Lawrence officials propose rolling back last call at bars and clubs

LAWRENCE, Mass. – On a chilly weeknight in Lawrence – the vibe on this stretch of nightclubs and bars isn’t an attention grabbing one, but on a Friday or Saturday that all changes.

This past Friday, police say a melee erupted as thousands of people left the crowded clubs when they closed around 2 a.m. It was all captured on cell phone video.

“This community is known for its nightlife so when people are drinking that breeds mistakes,” Lawrence resident Ryan Middlemiss said.

Police Union President Capt. Scott McNamara said the video is a clear example of the violence the city regularly sees. He also pointed to a shooting outside the Dubai nightclub last summer.

“We’re importing violence into on our city, people from surrounding area are rushing to the City of Lawrence to get to last call and they stay right until the end,” he said.

To shut down that invitation, McNamara is proposing that last call in Lawrence be rolled back from 2 a.m. to midnight.

Convenience store owner Juan Martinez among those who couldn’t disagree more with the idea.

“I don’t understand why they want to close the businesses early because that’s how the city makes money so why are going to do it,” he said.

Those who have been impacted by the late-night violence to see it differently.

“A lot of people losing lives and families here. I lost a cousin, I lost a niece, I lost a lot of people here,” Lawrence resident Armani Escobar said. “You don’t want to close at 12, but you’re risking lives and that’s not good.”

Lawrence City Councilor Marc LaPlante told Boston 25 News he’s isn’t sure if midnight is the answer, or perhaps 1 a.m.

“If somebody wants to keep that party going and keep it late into the night Lawrence is the place to go,” LaPlante said.

“Lawrence is trying to turn a corner we’ve had great success over the last four years it’s being overshadowed by consistent acts of violence," McNamara said.