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Wednesday nights a 'zoo' for Cal police

| Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 3:42 p.m.
Courtinee Qnique Whitaker

California Borough police were busy early Thursday with disturbances that occurred within 40 minutes of each other inside a Third Street bar.

Police Chief Rick Encapera said the back-to-back calls are the latest in a series of Wednesday night and early Thursday morning incidents at downtown bars just blocks from the California University of Pennsylvania campus.

Encapera said a “large fight” broke out 1:39 a.m. inside J. Coles Inn at 334 Third St.

Police were still in the process of identifying the alleged suspects Thursday afternoon, he said.

Police said at least five people were brawling inside the bar when Cal U police arrived and broke up the fight.

Encapera said that in the meantime, his officers were dealing with a Virginia woman they arrested at J. Coles around 1 a.m., just before the fight broke out.

Encapera said Courtinee Qnique Whitaker, 21, of Stafford, was charged with resisting arrest, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct, harassment and public drunkenness.

“She had lost her cell phone, and I guess she was blaming everyone in the bar,” Encapera said. “She knocked stuff off the bouncer's table and went up and unplugged the DJ equipment. ... My officers were tied up with her and took her to be arraigned when the fight broke out.”

Encapera confirmed some patrons had to be “subdued” but referred additional details to campus police.

He said it's uncertain whether Whitaker's alleged actions and subsequent arrest spurred the brawl.

Whitaker was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Curtis Thompson in Bentleyville, who sent her to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $20,000 cash bond.

Court records show Whitaker was released Thursday afternoon after she posted 10 percent of the bond.

Encapera said downtown bars are routinely packed with patrons on Wednesday nights.

“Wednesday is what they refer to as bucket night. I guess they sell buckets of beer to generate business,” he said of some bars. “It attracts not only students, but people from out of town. ... Every week, I've got a zoo here.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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