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State Sues Popular Dorchester Bar For Civil Rights Violations

BOSTON (CBS) - The state is suing a popular Dorchester bar for alleged civil rights violations.

In a statement issued Monday, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office accused Peggy O'Neil's of engaging "in a pattern of not allowing customers of color to enter and use the bar."

The lawsuit alleges that in December 2010, two men waiting in line to enter the bar were told by the owner that it was too late to get in and that they should find somewhere else to go.

WBZ-TV's Paul Burton reports

Later that night, another group of minorities were allegedly turned away by bar staff.

"At the same time, other Caucasian customers were allowed to enter the bar, many of whom appeared to be intoxicated," the attorney general's statement said.

According to the lawsuit, bar owner Caron O'Neil told the group that they could not come inside because they did not know her.

The plaintiffs claim O'Neil said to them, "You don't look like the type of people" she would know and "we don't like people of your kind here."

The lawsuit also claims that a third group of "persons of color" were denied entry in April 2011 and were treated in a similar manner.

The suit seeks monetary damages, civil penalties, and a request that the bar's staff undergo anti-discrimination training.

A spokesperson for the bar told WBZ-TV the allegations are false and unfair.

Peggy O'Neil's has been operating in the neighborhood since 1963.

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