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Barred From Booze, Sues City

January 16, 1985

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A boatyard worker has filed a $1 million libel suit against the town of Isleton and its police chief because the chief notified the 10 places which sell liquor not to serve him.

The written notices distributed by Police Chief Eugene Byrd said Ed Bowen had a reputation of being ″an habitual or common drunkard″ who ″caused disturbances″ in the tiny town in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The notices warned that persons who sold liquor to Bowen would be cited under a law prohibiting sales to habitual or common drunkards or obviously intoxicated persons.

Bowen denied being a drunkard or causing disturbances and said he was discriminated against because he is black.

Bowen, who runs a boat repair, salvage and towing operation, said Tuesday that a fire of mysterious origin burned him out of his home in Isleton last fall. Now living in nearby Pittsburg, he said he is having a hard time reestablishing himself.

Byrd defended his actions.

″A lot of the citizenry said he bothered them. I got all kinds of witnesses,″ the chief said.

″I’ve put out notices on seven or eight other individuals in the 21/2 years I’ve been here.″

Some bar owners backed Byrd’s policy.

″This town was pretty wild before the new chief came,″ said Roy Rogelio, owner of a restaurant.

″This system works pretty good. If someone causes some kind of problem, they’re ‘eighty-sixed’ from anyplace in town that sells liquor. Before that, we had people drinking, throwing bottles, fighting, even knifings on the street.″

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