Curbing the violence
Published 10:38 pm Monday, July 13, 2009
Downtown club owners and city officials have agreed to work together to stop violence.
Club owners have said most of the violence occurs outside their establishments in the parking lots or across the street.
For example, Daron Snowden, 44, was shot multiple times nearly two weeks ago outside Clyde’s Tornado Lounge.
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Authorities said Snowden and another man were sitting in a vehicle outside the club when the shooting occurred. Selma Police spokesman Lt. David Evans said a person approached the vehicle in which Snowden sat and began firing shots at Snowden, who was the passenger.
The driver of the vehicle took Snowden to Vaughan Regional Medical Center, but the hospital transferred the victim to another hospital, where Snowden died later.
Several days later, Leon Clemont Hudson, 35, surrendered to authorities at the Dallas County Jail after learning police had obtained a warrant for him.
Selma City Councilman Corey Bowie of Ward 8, where the shooting occurred, set up Monday’s meeting.
“This is not an attack on any business,” Bowie stressed. “We’re looking for ways to work together.”
Kimesha “Sunshine” Alvarado, who says she has worked as a DJ and waitress at some of the clubs in Selma, said this kind of violent activity happens too much outside the clubs. She said the club owners can handle what happens inside the clubs, but sometimes fights or confrontations move outside.
In other cities, such as Washington, D.C., off-duty police officers provide security for clubs, she said.
Selma police officers are forbidden from working inside or outside clubs, said Chief William Riley III.
Riley said he is not against people having a good time, but if people are acting up in the place or outside the place they should be banned from the club.
Loitering is banned. Selling items, such as t-shirts or barbecue in front of a club, is loitering, Riley said. If the police department continues to have to respond to certain clubs; the police department will consider those clubs a nusiance and shut them down.
“We have a limited number of people to go around,” said Riley, “and the city has an ordinance to deal with that.”
Selma Fire Chief Henry Allen stressed checks by police and firefighters on a regular basis to determine if too many people are in the club — a violation of the fire code — or to find underage drinkers. So far this year the departments have not scheduled any of their checks.
Generally, club owners see these checks by police and firefighters as harassment or stymying business. But those checks, Allen said, help keep down the violence.
“More people are on the outside of the club than on the inside,” Allen said. “This is where a lot of problems are. They are selling drugs outside the club. Those people aren’t spending money in the club. They aren’t doing the club any good.”
Mayor George Evans said the solution to the problem is twofold.
“No matter where they are, they need to clear the city,” Evans said. “They need to clear the city. … If you have a problem in your business and people are causing a problem and you call the police, those people are going to leave.”
Council President Dr. Geraldine Allen said the council will ensure everybody will follow the city’s codes.
“I don’t want to see anymore dying; anymore shooting where somebody loses a life,” she said.