Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southside Bar Shut Down after June 26 Raid; Establishment Had Been Scene of Number of Brawls

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Southside Bar Shut Down after June 26 Raid; Establishment Had Been Scene of Number of Brawls

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Staff writer

A Southside bar near Wolfson High School that has been the scene of repeated brawls and other problems over the past few years was shut down by the Sheriff's Office early June 26, police said.

The Sheriff's Office's Zone 3 Task Force staged a pre-dawn raid on a nightclub in a strip mall at 3935 Toledo Road, arresting the manager, bartenders, disc jockeys and security guards on charges of conspiracy to violate the beverage law after alcohol was served to minors, police said.

"We have had quite a concentration of problems there, and we had a lot of complaints from parents that they were serving alcohol to minors, and the state Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco said they were serving alcohol after 2 a.m.," said Sgt. Larry Schmidt. "All that in combination started a background investigation into the employees, and we sent an undercover officer into the operation."

City Councilman Art Shad, who represents that district, said he hadn't had any citizen complaints about the business. But after reading the police reports, he said he was "excited" that it had been shut down.

"It's amazing we haven't had one neighborhood complaint," he said. "They should be shut down, and it sounds like the police are doing a good job of shutting it down."

Club owner/manager Alban Lukaj couldn't be reached for comment, and telephone calls to the club were hung up on.

Police reports say the task force went in around 3:20 a.m. in response to multiple beverage law violations including sale to minors and after-hours sale of alcohol. Other complaints noted in the reports included numerous incidents of "battery and aggravated battery by club employees on patrons; incidents where all doors were being locked [to keep police out] in violation of the law requiring doors to be readily opened outward; and employees holding doors closed against police officers attempting to inspect the business."

"Whenever they [employees] would get into some confrontation with a club patron, they would grab baseball bats and beat them," said Schmidt, adding employees would hold the doors closed when police were called until their co-workers could get out. …

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