By Albert Samaha
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How bad was the race riot at the ROAD HOUSE PUB? The cops are sticking by their story that it was full-blown, but bar owner Michael Maupin insists that the riot that engulfed black patron Gregory Jean-Pierre wasn't necessarily racial in origin.
"I still believe that the people who were accused did do something," says Maupin, who went to court Sept. 7 to testify about what happened. "But it's a lot blown out of proportion."
Maupin swears to us that, despite reports of a mob of 30 chasing Jean-Pierre and his pals across the street, only five people left the bar and ended up outside with the Marine. He also says that the fight didn't start over racial differences, but because Jean-Pierre looked at someone's girlfriend. What about those ugly words? Maupin says Jean-Pierre was hurling slurs right back at them outside the bar.
Try telling that version to Jean-Pierre or to the media. Right before running to report on yet another hate crime over the weekend, at a public school in Centereach, seven TV crews were stationed outside the Road House on Saturday. Maupin says it's unfair. "It's not a racial bar," he says. "Look at some of the bands that play here."
Two Man Advantage is one of those bands. "We would have never been there if it was a Nazi bar," says vocalist Bud Tkachuk, noting that the punk band consists of one African-American, a Mexican, two Jews and two Italians. "Now, we question how safe it is to play there."
In the past, he says, management has shooed away some potential troublemakers. One night a year ago, Tkachuk noticed two or three "white power kids" hanging out, but management stood by him and asked them to leave once he pointed them out. More recently, Tkachuk says, he has sensed increased tension among patrons--maybe even a slightly different clientele. "Two Fridays ago, it was just a little bit more violent than usual," he says, with kids doing a "more aggressive style of dancing."
ROAD HOUSE PUB1795 Middle Country Rd, Centereach, 516-467-9722.