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No recommendation on business license for Augusta club where woman was killed

Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 8:29 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 1:30 AM
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An Augusta Commission committee declined Monday to recommend taking the license of a Deans Bridge Road club where Ashley Brown was fatally wounded Sept. 15, despite urging by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the victim’s family members.

Brown, 27, killed when 19-year-old Davachous Murphy and others fired guns into Club 5150 after Murphy was escorted out for fighting, might have lived if the juveniles hadn’t been allowed to enter the 21-and-over club and drink, sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Elim said.

Murphy and Robert Wright, 24, are charged in Brown’s death.

But club co-owner Tavaras Jones told commissioners Monday he didn’t know juveniles were inside.

“There is no proof,” said Jones, whom Commissioner Bill Lockett recalled as his former business law student at George P. Butler High School. Lockett told Jones he’ll check in at the club.

The location has a history of violence. Only four months before co-owner Chartara Newman paid $4,345 for an alcohol license, Club Night Life was catering to teens at the same location, 2864 Deans Bridge Road. Club Night Life’s license was revoked after six people were injured by gunfire in October 2010.

“Had those minors not been allowed into the club, (Brown) would still be here today,” said Lakeisha Lee, Brown’s sister. Her sister was an innocent bystander “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

Augusta’s ordinances do not require armed security with arrest powers at nightclubs, said inspector Larry Harris, who oversees license compliance.

“There should be some punishment,” Harris said. “Whether we should give them the death penalty, I don’t know.”

Brown’s brother Cameron Bates disagreed.

“I feel like they should have the death sentence because my sister had the death sentence,” he said.

Jones added that he’d tried to get officers to work special details at the club, but a Richmond County marshal had quit showing up. Elim said officers were afraid of violence at the location.

The decision on Club 5150 moves forward to the full commission with no recommendation.

In other business Monday, the commission agreed during a brief called legal meeting to rehire former Human Resources Director Rod Powell as a consultant at $50 an hour. According to Powell’s professional services agreement, obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, his duties are limited to compensation issues and surveys and firefighter promotional exams. Powell and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles previously told the newspaper that Powell would help with outsourcing human resource job functions. Commissioners Alvin Mason, Bill Lockett and J.R. Hatney opposed the move.

Lockett agreed to withdraw his Administrative Services Committee agenda item requesting the Georgia Attorney General give an opinion on the definition of “ordinary business” as specified in Augusta’s charter as requiring only six votes to pass. Lockett said he agreed with General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie that the question should await a written order from Superior Court Judge David Roper in the lawsuit filed against the city by The Baptist Ministers Conference of Augusta. MacKenzie said the city won’t be sure whether the order addresses the question until the order is filed. Roper ruled in the city’s favor in court Nov. 17.

Lockett reiterated a lengthy, impassioned call for an external forensic audit of numerous city deals, including privatization of the golf course and bus service. Also part of his list for extra review was a deal he said had “outside attorneys doing real estate transactions who were representing both sides,” and Augusta purchased property at the corner of 13th and Reynolds streets for more than $100,000 to trade for Sen. Bill Jackson’s corner hotdog stand, now site of the Trade, Exhibit and Event Center parking deck. Lockett’s request failed 2-1 in the Administrative Services Committee.

The panel also took no action on a recommendation by Deputy City Administrator Bill Shanahan to impose a 5 percent surcharge on tobacco users covered by the city’s health plan. The charge would amount to a $10 increase for individuals up to a $32 increase for families, but Mason and Hatney questioned why employees with other bad habits such as overeating and drinking alcohol weren’t also being targeted.

Comments (15) Add comment
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scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 12/12/11 - 09:08 pm
0
0
Don't know all the details

Don't know all the details but I trust that if the police department says that it's a problem then its a problem and should lose their license or at least suspend them for a while. There has to be consequences or the owners will never do anything to change what is going on.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/12/11 - 10:10 pm
0
0
If they don't know who is in

If they don't know who is in their club - shut it down. PERIOD. They obviously don't have a grip on the security and the age requirements for their own patrons. Unfortunately, clubs like that with a history of violence and that attract more underage than those over 21, will always have a problem with thugs and violence.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/12/11 - 10:26 pm
0
0
Give them a license with
Unpublished

Give them a license with conditions- They must have a LEO on premises when they are open, and he will check (and frisk as he sees fit) the I.D. of every patron coming thorough the door. If they can do that and make money, then good for them.

I might add, since the incidence of violence is pretty high at some RCO nightclubs, pass an ordinance that if the RCSO gets more than 1 call to a club in a year, they are required to have RCSO security Thurs-Sat as a condition of maintaining the license.

I really have no idea of what would be realistic in that case, let the Sheriff's Office and Commission decide; but you get the gist of what I'm talking about. It sure would cut down on the riff-raff, or at least convince the riff-raff they have to behave like decent humans when out in public.

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 12/12/11 - 10:50 pm
0
0
Correct me if I read that

Correct me if I read that wrong. Rod Powell is getting paid $50 and hour to find others to do the work he should be doing himself as Human Resources Director. I offer my services as Fire Director to tell the brave fire fighters to crank the truck and roll for the ridiculously low fee of $40 per hour.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/13/11 - 03:43 am
0
0
Shutting the down would

Shutting the down would certainly be acceptable based on the above information and the fact that they failed to provide adequate security and ensure that underage patrons were not entering the club.

IF they are allowed to remain open, it should be conditional upon a minimum of 4 deputies on duty whenver the club is open. If they can't get deputies to work or don't have a minimum of 4 on duty, they can not open and if they do it will be grounds for the club to immediately be shut down. This would allow for 1 deputy to cover the parking lot for trespassers, 1 deputy to cover the entrance to ensure all persons entering are of age and 2 deputies inside to ensure problem patrons are removed. If the club expects to have more than 200 partons ever then more deputies would be required with a minimm of 1 deputy per 50 guests - the cover charges will more than pay for the deputies. ANY club that has problems should be required to follow these type of guidelines in order to have a permit.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 05:39 am
0
0
Asitis, good recommendations.

Asitis, good recommendations. And pray safety for the officers, as we know the shooters don't care about who they shoot these days. Apparently the perps who shot at this club just went into the parking lot and started spraying bullets.

david jennings
624
Points
david jennings 12/13/11 - 07:35 am
0
0
It is one brave officer that

It is one brave officer that would work security at this place, I mean, I would be thinking, if they are crazy enough to come here, they sure aren't afraid or have any respect for law enforcement. I mean 100 or more young people, drinking, and probably at least 10% packing heat, I'd feel safer in Afganistan. Do the public a favor, close the place.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 12/13/11 - 07:51 am
0
0
It appears to me the WCTU is

It appears to me the WCTU is in fine fettle. Disturbing this lynch mob mentality is the problem the shootings did not take place in the club. The perps drove by in the parking lot and shot randomly at the building. So how does that make the club responsible? We have drive-bys throughout Augusta. Shall we hold the public housing authority at fault? We have had several incidents at churches; should we close them as well? I have a novel idea: Catch, arrest, try, and punish the thugs doing these criminal acts. Let's see if that might lessen the carnage instead of moving it down the street.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 12/13/11 - 08:13 am
0
0
dear mr. jones, the "duh, i
Unpublished

dear mr. jones,

the "duh, i anin't not even no!" defense just doesn't cut it, what ever happened to checking id's???? o i guess you don't want to run off you clientele, you know the "thug/gansta" element, the demographic group with the largest amount of deposible income. and mr. lockett i am so ashamed of you for not standing up and having the guts and the coco-nuts to do what is right and shut the club down. how can you ignore the history of violence, not fighting but GUN VIOLENCE all for the sake of your "former business law student" now is not the time for you to wax nostalga and be sentimental, now is the time you should stand tall and be the man tht you are and vote to do what is right and that is to shut down the "thug club" i bet if you were to visit the club during operation you would see most if not all the patrons wearing their finest "gear or swag" pants down by their ankles strutting around thinking they look good but looking like d@#n fools very few if any could even read the lables of the drinks they would be ordering...SHAME ON YOU MR LOCKETT!!!!!! if you are not going to be part of the solution then you must be part of the problem and it's time for you to step down!!!!!!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/13/11 - 08:46 am
0
0
I agree dstwartsr. I also
Unpublished

I agree dstwartsr.

I also pray that our youth find something positive to do and also develope a sense of worth in this society. The music and the media (television) have deluded the minds of the youth. Was this planned or is it just an effect for the way society is today?

Nonetheless, we need to get a handle on our youth. Many of the aassults and robberies reported in Richmond Hill were commited by the young in the area....so I hear...

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/13/11 - 08:52 am
0
0
Did the Marshall really stop
Unpublished

Did the Marshall really stop showing up??? It seriously can't be that bad @ this club. . . .

THE OWNERS should have cared a little more. Since he is a native of Augusta, Ga. . . .he/she KNOWS how the youth in the area "sneak" into clubs and what-not. The owners should have cared more---had more security, and also made it mandatory to have an id to enter. Also, just the presence alone of police officers usually is enough to deter any type of crime.

I pray for Ashley's family. . .seek God in your time of need, for I KNOW He will surely answer!

Anyone have any contact information for this family?

Westside Liberal
12
Points
Westside Liberal 12/13/11 - 09:05 am
0
0
Wait a Minute!! When the

Wait a Minute!! When the County Marshals won't show up to work security because of a fear of "violence at the location"; how can the commission and the citizens of this community allow these types of businesses to flourish in our midst.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 10:38 am
0
0
The shooting may not have

The shooting may not have happened IN the club, but the perp (Murphy) had to be escorted OUT of the club because he was fighting. Murphy shouldn't have been IN the club in the first place if the club is for 21 and over. I say if a club is serving alcohol, no minors should be allowed anywhere in the mix. Minors patronizing clubs like this is the norm. This is why clubs like this ALWAYS have problems with fights and shooting.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/13/11 - 10:53 am
0
0
Patty, do you think if they
Unpublished

Patty, do you think if they ID'd each person, would the perp still have gotten into an altercation INSIDE the club?

If the perp had not been in the club in the first place, do you think he would have handled the altercaition like a man (fists)? Instead, he handled it like an immature child not getting his way.

What if a deputy has been stationed in the P. lot? Do you think he STILL would have went to the trunk to get the piece?

What's the solution?

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
iLove...obviously if they

iLove...obviously if they ID'd each person, the perp wouldn't have been in the club in the first place....if the immature perp hadn't been in the club with what was supposed to be a more mature crowd, he probably wouldn't have gotten into a fight, thus, would not be in the parking lot spraying bullets at everyone. People set age limits for reasons. I can't say whether he would have went to his trunk to get the piece with a cop in the parking lot either. These days, thugs are shooting at anybody (cops too). If I were a club owner I would step up my game - minimum age or older crowd, and plenty of security, period. You can't stop all incidents even when all precautions are made, but at least the owner will know they are within code and have done everything possible to make sure it is a safe/legal environment. Keep the kids OUT.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/13/11 - 12:46 pm
0
0
@ Patty - I am confused as to
Unpublished

@ Patty - I am confused as to if we are debating a topic from different sides...or we agree....and are just typing to be typing....

Little Lamb
49133
Points
Little Lamb 12/13/11 - 01:10 pm
0
0
People have been killed in

People have been killed in Wal-Marts, McDonalds, service stations, etc., and they don't pull their business licenses. They shouldn't pull this one, either.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 01:24 pm
0
0
iLove...Ultimately I think we

iLove...Ultimately I think we agree, but approaching from a different angle...or perhaps just typing to be typing. Today is my day off. :)

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 01:29 pm
0
0
LL...if the problem gets bad

LL...if the problem gets bad enough, I'm sure something would be done. Why did the Regency Mall close? I'm sure there are various reasons, but what ultimately contributed to it's demise?

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/13/11 - 04:20 pm
0
0
Girl I know what you mean
Unpublished

Girl I know what you mean about a day off! lol

Hope you have enjoyed it!

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 12/13/11 - 04:27 pm
0
0
"...(I)f the problem gets bad

"...(I)f the problem gets bad enough, I'm sure something would be done. Why did the Regency Mall close?"

Lousy security; the management reacting too little, too late, and the news exaggerated the threat --which was on par with Augusta Mall by way of kidnappings and robberies as well as gang intimidation-- to bring about the flight of store owners.

But on point to this discussion, no one threatened to close the mall by yanking their license.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/13/11 - 05:57 pm
0
0
dstewartsr....my response was

dstewartsr....my response was not to imply that someone yanked the Regency Malls license. I'm sure the merchants began to pull out if the mall got the reputation of being unsafe. When a business establishment is unsafe, people obviously wouldn't want to shop there...especially if they have other options. As for the club - most classy or mature people wouldn't want to patronize a club that has constant shooting.

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