More than a week after a shooting at a downtown Little Rock nightclub that left 28 people injured, a committee of the Pulaski County Quorum Court will take up a proposal that would encourage the prohibition of concerts by performers who promote or incite violence.
The resolution cites "an alarming rise in violent crimes, gang activity and shootings" in Pulaski County and its incorporated cities. It also states that concerts and performers who promote or incite violence through their music or messaging negatively affect the county and seeks a 180-day ban on such performances.
The Quorum Court's agenda committee is meeting at 6 p.m. today to take up the resolution by county Justice of the Peace Judy Green. If it passes, it will head to the full 15-member Quorum Court later this month.
"My hope is that this resolution will send a strong message to our municipal leaders and encourage them to enact tougher laws towards performers who incite violence through their messaging," Green said in a statement released Monday.
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Photos by Brandon Riddle
Photos by Brandon Riddle
Gunfire broke out early July 1 during a concert by Memphis rapper Ricky Hampton, who performs as Finese 2Tymes, at Power Ultra Lounge, 220 W. Sixth St. Bullets struck 25 people, while three more were injured trying to flee the second floor of the club.
After the shooting, many took to social media, posting Hampton's promotional poster of the rapper aiming a rifle at the viewer, saying that the poster encouraged the acts.
The club's owner, Herman Lewis, appeared Monday without an attorney at an Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control hearing on his alcohol-serving permit. The state agency took emergency action July 1, suspending the club's restaurant mixed-drink maximum permit on three reported Class A violations.
The purported violations are failing to be a good neighbor, allowing the possession of weapons on the premises and disorderly conduct.
Victims of Little Rock mass shooting
The violations weren't the first for the club. It had racked up seven enforcement actions since 2012, but many were administrative in nature, agency Director Mary Robin Casteel said. The club has also had its permit suspended 11 times because of failure to pay taxes.
On Monday, Lewis "did not offer any testimony of substance" but said he was no longer operating the Sixth Street club, Casteel said. The club was closed through a criminal-abatement program.
The state agency continued the permit suspension Monday pending another hearing.
Lewis' attorney, Ron Davis, sent Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola an email July 1, saying the club owner "will not resist any effort to revoke his liquor license or otherwise remain in business." Lewis did ask Monday if he would receive notice of another hearing from the beverage control board, Casteel said.
The agency will set a new hearing date once Beverage Control Enforcement finishes investigating, Casteel said, adding it will likely be after Little Rock police wrap up its case.
The Pulaski County Quorum Court's resolution has no enforcement authority attached with it, said Justin Blagg, director of Quorum Court services. It is simply a statement, he said.
"All the resolution would do is encourage municipalities to create a moratorium," he said. "It would not compel them to enforce anything. That would be up to the individual municipalities to decide or ignore."
It was unclear late Monday what actions -- if any -- Little Rock and North Little Rock would take.
Information for this article was provided by Kally Patz of Arkansas Online.
Metro on 07/11/2017
Print Headline: Ban violence-fueling concerts, JP urges