EDITORIAL: Night clubs need to be examined

Published 8:34 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Shykereya Leggett, a 20-year-old Selma woman, was gunned down over the weekend walking out of a Selma nightclub — an innocent bystander caught up in senseless violence.

It’s not the first time an innocent person has been killed in the crossfire in or outside a nightclub in Selma. Unfortunately, we have reported on shooting after shooting involving nightclubs.

In March 2015, Taffine Berry was shot and killed outside a lounge on Marie Foster Avenue. Then a few weeks later — on Easter Sunday of all days — another woman was shot outside a nightclub on Washington Street.

A few days after that, two men were arrested for trying to rob nightclub patrons on Race Street at gunpoint. One of the would-be robbers somehow ended up shot in the leg. It never became clear if he accidentally shot himself or if he was shot by someone else in the club.

More club shootings followed in July on Franklin Street when an 18-year-old was shot in the groin and November when police got into a shootout with a suspect who was firing into a crowd outside a club at the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Washington Street. One man was shot in the leg in the melee. Miraculously, no one died.

The shootings have continued into 2016 and 2017. One on Valentine’s Day last year outside the Grown and Sexy Club on Washington Street. More outside Club Entourage in April and outside Doc’s back in June.

The city has taken some steps to address this problem but more can be done to prevent future violence and deaths.

This past weekend’s shooting happened at a place called Prime Ultra Lounge, which is also called D’s Night Spot. The establishment doesn’t have a liquor license because its owners say it operates as an event hall, a place that is rented out for parties.

That’s despite promoting parties and other events on Facebook for months like the Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight in August. Some of the fliers have read “$5 shots all night,” “$10 to enter all you can drink,” and even “exotic entertainment.”

Similarly, four people were injured at another “event hall” called “Jesse’s Pool” in September.

These businesses may be within the letter of the law; however, any place advertising their Happy Hour as Prime Ultra Lounge has isn’t just an event hall.

If businesses are operatingnightclubslubs or lounges, they need to have a business license, a liquor license, meet the city’s requirements for security and cameras or be shut down.