NYC Black business owners allege discrimination from city, state

PELHAM PARKWAY, the Bronx (WABC) -- Black small business owners in New York City say they are being hit with aggressive enforcement and fines from the NYPD and other state agencies.

Kirvens craft beer bar in Pelham Parkway was just big enough to employ a few locals and make a modest living for its owner until a marked NYPD police cruiser started parking out front.

"When you have days where you have paltry sales and people are staring from across the street, you know it's because that car is sitting out there with their lights on. I mean, it was blatant," owner Mirisa Davis said.

Davis says that police started targeting her and the state liquor authority limited her hours so severely, it cost her upwards of $75,000.

And it's not just Kirvens, a study by the Brooklyn Borough President's Office shows what he calls systemic, built-in bias against African American owned businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout the City.

"I believe this is a well-organized plan of closing down black and brown businesses because of gentrification. We have weaponized these agencies to I believe extradite gentrification," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

Doris Rodney just paid $40,000 in fines for her restaurant the hills in Brooklyn.

"Constant police officers coming in, having my customers get up and say that they have to leave. They leave their drinks, they leave their food," Rodney said. "I just paid a $40,000 fine. Where do I go from here?" Rodney said.

When reached for comment, the State Liquor Authority released the following statement:

"The State Liquor Authority has zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind and only takes action when restaurants or bars break the law or put public health at risk. All fines and other penalties come only after due process - including the right to a hearing - and a finding that illegal conduct has been proven by substantial evidence."
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