Metropolitan Police arrested three students at a Saturday night party sponsored by a Student Association presidential candidate.
At about 11:30 p.m., undercover MPD officers entered the Tequila Grill restaurant and bar and approached three students – two male and one female – sitting at a table drinking alcohol provided to them by guests over the age of 21.
The students, who were arrested on charges of underage possession of alcohol, declined to comment about the incident.
SA presidential candidate Alex Rochestie hosted the party for his production company, AROCK. He said the party was not intended to promote his presidential campaign.
Rochestie said he did not witness the event and did not know that underage students were drinking at the bar, located at 1990 K St.
“We hire security at all our events to try and keep these situations in check, but I have no control over other people’s personal responsibilities,” he said. “This is the first and last time we will host at Tequila Grill.”
Rochestie said this is the first occasion that guests at one of his events have been arrested and that Tequila Grill did not provide the necessary amount of security that it had promised in their business agreement.
But Tequila Grill manager Fred Shirin said bar employees were very vigilant in checking IDs and that Saturday’s arrest was “the first time since I have taken over that we have experienced problems.”
“We are strict with checking IDs and try and watch everything, but it is difficult to control because people share drinks,” he said.
Two students were arrested during a sorority event at Tequila Grill in April 2001, according to a Hatchet article.
The detained students could face a maximum of 90 days in prison or a $300 fine, said Lt. Patrick Burke, who oversees MPD’s efforts to curb underage drinking.
He said criminal charges are typically dropped for first-time offenders but that a record will still exist.
MPD received a $400,000 grant in July that enabled officers to implement a “more balanced attack” against underage drinking by increasing presence in bars and liquor stores.
Burke said undercover MPD officers are advised to look for “young people holding or drinking alcohol” while patrolling bars.
“We now have a stronger presence and are making sure all sides of underage drinking are covered,” Burke said.
Rochestie said Saturday’s incident should not affect his campaign.
“These parties are going to happen and it’s a shame that it happened to these kids,” he said. “But my leadership skills are far more important than this infraction.”