by Steven Hale
Across the street, Tennessean reporter and friend of Pith Joey Garrison reports on claims that a dozen law enforcement officials barged into The Family Wash in East Nashville at around 10 p.m. last Friday night.
Garrison reports that the group is the Metro Environmental Task Force, a crew apparently charged with ensuring "restaurants and bars are following alcohol, food, health and other codes."
The whole thing sounds like something out of a Radley Balko daydream, and Family Wash owner Jamie Rubin says he's never seen anything like it in 16 years the Nashville food business.
From the daily:
“To say I’m outraged would probably be a bit of an understatement,” Rubin said. “They may want to call it a ‘spot check.’ But you can talk to anybody that was in there — employees, patrons — it was a raid. That’s what it was.”
Rubin wasn’t present when the task force initially arrived, but he got there within 15 minutes. He described what he saw as “bullying.”
He said the group’s attire made it appear like everyone was a cop. As they arrived, he said they provided no paperwork, identification, business cards or notification. Officers went through coolers behind the bar, he said, and aggressively asked questions to his staff.
Metro Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford tells Garrison the incident was just a "routine check" and that the task force doesn't typically roll so deep, but that on this night they had trainees with them.
Reporting on the same incident, WSMV has Rubin claiming that he lost two nights of business as a result of the task force's visit. Specifically, WSMV reports, Rubin says he was wrongly told to get rid of high gravity beer that officials said he wasn't licensed to sell.
Per WSMV, Metro officials "dispute the claim" that alcohol was destroyed and say that no customers left because of the task force.