Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Picketers Urge Wing Depot Boycott; Protest Follows Arrest of Owners for Fight outside American Legion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Picketers Urge Wing Depot Boycott; Protest Follows Arrest of Owners for Fight outside American Legion

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

About 75 people protested Thursday outside a Jacksonville restaurant owned by a couple who were arrested Sunday over a fight outside an Arlington American Legion post.

Picketers carried signs invoking the beating of Charles Hughes, who was hospitalized after the struggle, but a series of marchers said the protest was as much about bad treatment of customers at Wing Depot, 3547 University Blvd. N.

"You can act any way you want, but it doesn't mean you're not responsible for repercussions," said Tim Meissen, who started a protest Facebook page that gained more than 5,500 members in two days.

Restaurant owners and spouses William "Tommy" Lodge, 60, and Terry Lodge, 55, were briefly jailed on misdemeanor battery charges Sunday and released on bonds of $2,500 each.

The couple's attorney, Miguel Rosada, said Thursday that charging the couple was an error, and that evidence would eventually show Lodge, who is 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, was simply defending himself.

Lodge and Hughes, 66, are both Navy veterans and members of the American Legion at 9459 Fort Caroline Road, where Lodge was injured after he walked outside. Rosada said the men had exchanged words inside the post and that Hughes escalated the dispute.

That was not the narrative protesters accepted.

"Batter Wings Not Vets" read one of the signs that pleaded for "Justice 4 Chuck."

"Boycott Wing Depot. Don't Support These Criminals!" read a sign carried by Charles Hughes Jr., who said his father had a fractured eye socket and teeth knocked out, as well as serious injuries to his nose and cheek. " A GoFundMe account has been set up in Hughes' name.

Protesters outlined complaints about the restaurant, also.

Amber King, 36, said hostile language and a racial epitaph were directed at her family after her husband asked for a change to a sandwich he had ordered. King, who is black, said her children, ages 9 to 16, call the place "the racist restaurant," and her family has not returned since then. …

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