Wisconsin lawmaker says his bar not a ‘dangerous institution’ after 4 patrons overdose on fentanyl

Police in Wisconsin say the fentanyl-laced medication that killed one individual and precipitated three extra to overdose in a village north of Milwaukee had been purchased at a state lawmaker’s tavern that has been the topic of a number of calls to police in recent times.

Republican Rep. Rob Brooks has owned the Railroad Station in Saukville since 2007 and mentioned he was conscious of points with medication on the bar shortly after buying it however thought that they had been addressed.

An everyday patron of Brooks’ bar offered cocaine laced with fentanyl to 28-year-old Nick Hamilton and three pals attending a party there on Could 5, Village of Grafton Police Chief Jeff Caponera mentioned Monday. Hamilton overdosed that evening and died within the hospital on Could 8. Brooks mentioned he was not on the bar that weekend.


“It is a tragedy what occurred, little question, and we’ll do all the things inside our energy to make sure nothing like this occurs once more,” Brooks mentioned on Thursday. “We’re not operating a nasty institution.”

However Joe Hamilton, Nick Hamilton’s father, questioned Brooks’ sincerity. Brooks has not reached out to the household or responded to their calls and didn’t publicly touch upon the current dying or reply questions concerning the bar till Thursday.

“It ticks me off. It looks like he doesn’t care, like he doesn’t care concerning the neighborhood,” Joe Hamilton mentioned on Wednesday.

Whereas Brooks has sponsored measures to crack down on drug distribution as a member of the Meeting, police have been referred to as for drug-related complaints at his bar.

In 2018, an undercover informant informed Ozaukee County Sheriff’s deputies {that a} patron frequently dealt medication on the Railroad Station on Thursday evenings, in response to police reviews obtained by The Associated Press. Officers looked for the person on the bar and different places however didn’t discover him.

Brooks mentioned he was not conscious of the 2018 police report and had no motive to suspect medication had been getting used or offered at his bar in recent times.

Within the incident tied to the bar this month, Nick Hamilton and three pals overdosed within the early morning hours of Could 6 at a house in Grafton. One of many victims referred to as police after realizing that Nick Hamilton was not respiratory and that one other sufferer had been mauled by a canine whereas unconscious. Officers carried out CPR and administered Narcan, a nasal spray that may reverse opioid overdoses, in response to a police assertion.

Police haven’t named the surviving victims however mentioned two had been anticipated to get well shortly and the girl who was mauled had obtained surgical procedure for wounds on her face.

Wisconsin Fox News graphic

A Republican Wisconsin state Consultant denied {that a} bar he owns, which has come below hearth for reviews prison exercise by patrons and quite a few fentanyl overdoses, is an inherently “dangerous institution.” (Fox Information)

Joe Hamilton referred to as on Brooks to do extra to discourage drug exercise on the bar, together with putting in surveillance cameras and protecting a better eye on the enterprise.

Brooks questioned the usefulness of cameras however mentioned Thursday that he does plan to put in them. “Safety cameras should not going to stop one thing like this,” he mentioned. “We are able to’t put safety cameras in bogs or different areas or cowl each sq. inch of the property.”

Fentanyl, an artificial opioid 50 instances stronger than heroin, is very addictive and may be deadly in doses as little as 2 milligrams, in response to the Drug Enforcement Company. Specialists have attributed a nationwide surge in overdose deaths in recent times to fentanyl being laced into many different illicit medication. The state Division of Well being Providers mentioned roughly 1,280 folks in Wisconsin died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021.

Brooks and fellow Wisconsin Republicans have pushed for harsher prison penalties to crack down on fentanyl distribution. Brooks cosponsored a invoice in February that may set a most jail sentence of 60 years for somebody convicted of reckless murder for offering medication that led to a deadly overdose, up from the present 40. The invoice handed the Senate and is awaiting a vote within the Meeting.

“What’s he going to do now? Advertise extra due to the lack of my son? In actuality, 4 folks might’ve died, they usually nearly did,” Joe Hamilton mentioned. “Can I say Robert Brooks knew? No, I can not actually say that. However I do know that he is been there sufficient.”

When requested about different incidents police have responded to on the Railroad Station, Brooks mentioned, “We’re a bar, and there may be alcohol served.”


Final 12 months, officers arrested an everyday patron of the bar after he allegedly beat the son of the bar’s former proprietor for calling Brooks a racist. The sufferer informed police {that a} patron repeatedly punched and kicked him within the bar’s car parking zone, breaking three ribs and a bone in his face in addition to puncturing his lung.

Brooks was not on the bar when the battle happened.

A case in 2014 reached the Wisconsin Supreme Court after an off-duty Railroad Station worker ejected an intoxicated man who had been ordered to go away. The off-duty worker allowed a person to fall down concrete steps after which dragged him onto the grass exterior the bar, in response to court docket filings. The person suffered head accidents and hypothermia from the chilly climate.

Brooks owns a number of different companies within the Saukville space, together with a restaurant and rental properties. He was first elected to the Meeting in 2015. A invoice he authored that was signed into legislation in his first time period permits landlords to evict tenants with 5 days’ discover for utilizing, making or promoting medication at a rental property.


Brooks stepped down from a high legislative management place in 2018 amid backlash over racial and sexual feedback he made to feminine lawmakers. He ignored calls from former Republican Gov. Scott Walker to resign from workplace, saying he made “silly feedback whereas inebriated.”

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