Protesters come back to Hertel, demand change after confrontation outside M.T. Pockets

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Recently, a lot has happened involving M.T. Pockets on Hertel Ave.

Patrons were seen on video yelling racist and homophobic slurs at protesters. They were also seen not wearing masks or following social distancing orders.

Now, the bar is temporarily closed.

On Wednesday, dozens of protesters came back demanding something be done. Unlike Tuesday, when the bar’s patio was packed, it was empty on Wednesday. The doors were locked and the lights were off.

A sign on the window let people know it was temporarily closed.

“M.T. Pockets itself was cited by the Department of Health June 30th for failure to have the employees, as well as patrons, wear masks during this COVID-19 environment,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “As such, the recommendation was for closure.”

Poloncarz says his office received more than 100 complaints that the business wasn’t following state guidelines once again. A News 4 camera caught patrons not wearing masks or social distancing on Tuesday night.

Less than 24 hours later, they were shut down.

“We all need to take responsibility for the incidents that have occurred, and work together and ensure that this stops here, and that it stops now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

Tuesday’s incident at M.T. Pockets was the second on Hertel Ave. where people were heard saying racial slurs. Last week, a Franklinville man was seen displaying a knife and shouting the ‘n-word’ at the intersection of Hertel and Parkside avenues. He is facing hate crime charges.

In a statement sent to News 4 on behalf of M.T. Pockets owner Phil Alagna, the management apologized, saying things got out of control and that customers acted inappropriately. “We do not tolerate racism in our establishment,” it also read.

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