By Seth Daniel
The cheese stood alone on Monday night at Everett City Hall, as representatives from Chuck E. Cheese were called to hearings of the Council’s Public Safety Committee and the License Commission regarding the most recent incident of violence in its Everett store.
The Everett License Commission held a hearing on the matter, and asked that the children’s restaurant and game center – which has had two violent incidents erupts in the last three months – increase its security measures.
“There’s a problem there and unfortunately the police had to be called,” said Chair Phil Antonelli. “Then Fox news got it. No one wants that. It’s a black eye for you as a business. It’s a black eye for the City of Everett.”
One interesting thing that made it hard for the License Commission to penalize the establishment is that it has no liquor license, and only has an entertainment license with the City.
“People talk about rolling back your hours or something,” said Antonelli. “What are we going to do? You close at 9 p.m. Does that mean we make you close at 6 p.m.? That doesn’t work.”
Instead, the Commission and the Council asked that more safety measures are put in place.
One new thing was the addition of police details every day on school vacation weeks. The most recent incident, which involved a fight between a man, a woman and a pregnant woman, occurred on the night of President’s Day, Feb. 20 – the first day of February School Vacation week.
James Rowley of Chuck E. Cheese said they will continue having police details on the weekends, as they do now, and will add the details during the vacation weeks and Monday holidays. They have added monitors and five security cameras too.
The plan is to immediately put police details in place during Spring Break.
Police officials and Chuck E. Cheese employees said the pregnant woman actually started the fight that erupted on Feb. 20, and was also responsible for hurting her young child – having knocked an object off the salad bar that hit the child while she was flailing her arms wildly.
“The pregnant woman really started it all,” said Mike Balboni of Chuck E. Cheese. “It really happened quickly. It all started and was over in two minutes. One person bumped into another. They started arguing and a Hispanic woman was struck first by her. A third party came in and he was struck too. Then he struck the pregnant woman back…As she was being dragged out, her young child was following her, and she was flailing her arms. She knocked something off the salad bar and it hit her own kid. “
The Police and the Commission have asked that Chuck E. Cheese also post a sign in English and Spanish that indicates bags are subject to a search.
The business, Commissioners said, had been fully cooperative with everyone and was truly looking to beef up security and put the incidents behind them.