Hours restricted for 1 Columbus nightclub after shooting
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city is limiting the operating hours of a nightclub after a police officer shot a man to death while responding to a call about a disturbance at the club.
Steven and Christy Short, who own Premier Lounge in Columbus, said the restriction will hurt their business, the Commercial Dispatch reported.
Christy Short told Columbus officials that Premier is only open “three to four times per month,” usually 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
“To say we’re only to be open for an hour is not fair,” she said. “You’re singling us out. That’s not fair.”
However, Mayor Robert Smith said other businesses where shootings took place have voluntarily shortened their hours for a limited time.
“To say we’re picking on Premier Lounge, that’s not true,” Smith said.
The City Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to require Premier Lounge to close by 10 p.m. for at least six months.
A white Columbus police officer, Jared Booth, is on leave while the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation looks into the fatal shooting of a black man, Raymond Davis, early Saturday outside Premier Lounge. City officials said police body camera video showed Davis was holding a gun.
Police Chief Oscar Lewis said Booth was responding to a call that someone at the nightclub had been hit with a baseball bat.
Councilmen who have seen the body camera footage described a hectic scene in the club’s parking lot, which was filled with people.
Smith on Tuesday listed four other instances of police being called to Premier Lounge between March and September for disturbances, including one time when man said he feared for his life.
Christy Short said all the previous reports happened when the club was leased to a third party. After that lease expired in September, she said she and her husband “took the club back” because it wasn’t “going in the direction we wanted it to go.”
Christy Short said seven security guards are now on staff and the building has surveillance cameras inside and outside of the business. She said the guards also check everyone who enters the club, and weapons are prohibited inside.
Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com