BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. The owner of a popular Brooklyn Park sports bar is scheduled to appear in Hennepin County District Court this week on charges he assaulted a customer.
Brooklyn Park police said the incident happened last June at Blondie's bar. That's when a customer tried to cancel a food order and got into a dispute with the owner and bar staff. Police said the man had stopped there for a bite to eat between jobs.
"It is not like he was drunk and disorderly. There was a dispute over the time it was going to take for his food. But he decided he didn't want to pay for it and for that he ends up with these types of serious injuries," said acting Brooklyn Park Police Chief Greg Roehl.
Investigators say the owner, Thor Gunderson, even tried to stop the man from calling 911 for help. When police got to the bar, they say they found the customer bleeding and on the ground, restrained by Gunderson and a bouncer.
"At the hospital they determined he had an injury which was to his scrotum and that one of his testicles was actually torn loose," said Roehl.
The incident, and a visit to top police officials from community leader Spike Moss, prompted an investigation which ultimately led to charges against Gunderson and a bouncer.
"This is a serious incident that happened here," said Roehl.
WCCO-TV obtained documents from Brooklyn Park police which confirmed problems aren't unusual at Blondie's. In fact, Roehl noted the bar has the highest number of police calls of any liquor establishment in the city. The reports show 242 police calls so far this year.
WCCO-TV also obtained police squad video of some of the incidents. One video showed a heated confrontation between Gunderson and officers last spring.
Gunderson repeatedly swears, challenging the officers over how they handled the incident.
In another incident, officers report Gunderson "was out of control, flexing his muscles ... yelling and screaming at the officers and suspect."
"Just because you own an establishment doesn't give you carte blanche to do whatever you want to control your customers," said Roehl.
Police also report accusations that Blondie's sometimes mistreats black customers. WCCO-TV checked a years worth of calls to the bar and found some customers said they felt they had been victims of discrimination.
Gunderson declined to comment for this report. His attorney said he will try his case in court, not in the media.
Gunderson's lawyer, Dave Roston, indicated he will have witnesses who give a different version of the bar assault incident than the ones cited to support the felony assault charges.
The trial is scheduled to start Monday morning. Because of the short holiday week, it is expected to be continued to a later date.
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