A St. Joseph bar’s attempt to stir up sarcasm by offering a drink special associated with a police officer’s shooting of an unarmed black teenager has instead stirred up controversy.
Mug Shots, a small bar in the 1700 block of St. Joseph Avenue, recently posted a sign that offered the Michael Brown special: six shots for $10.
Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson after a confrontation in the middle of a Ferguson, Mo., street in August. Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
The shooting triggered protests and looting, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas.
A bar co-owner, Rodney Stapleton, told the St. Joseph News-Press the idea for the special was borrowed after he saw on Facebook that it had been successful at another bar. The bar later removed the sign.
Stapleton could not be reached for comment Monday.
However, his marketing ploy drew about 20 protesters to the front of the bar Friday night. Police increased patrols in the area, but there were no reports of violence.
“It was silly,” said Janet Christmas, who manages a nearby gas station. “They should have never done that, but it has been blown out of proportion.”
According to social media, the bar posted a response to the criticism that said: “Just wanna thank everyone who is going on about our shot special. Its just giving us free publicity. Everyone will know where the cheapest drinks are now. It also shows everyone that we believe our slogan, ‘WHERE SARCASM IS ALWAYS FREE.’”
The message concluded, “We have never been hateful to anyone because of race, class, sex or sexual preference.”
Christmas described the bar’s owners as pleasant, but said their attempt to make light of what many view as a tragic incident turned flat.
“More than anything, it was supposed to be a joke that turned out real bad,” she said.