Dance Hall's License May Be in Jeopardy; Security Plan at PG Club in Question
Byline: Andrea Noble, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Stricter regulations meant to help Prince George's County officials crack down on problem dance venues have one establishment possibly facing sanctions for security plan violations, but authorities are still trying to determine whether a restaurant where a fatal shooting took place should be punished.
The owner of the Plaza 23 Event Center in Temple Hills could have his dance hall license suspended for violations during an Aug. 5 concert, after which a band member was fatally shot. Approximately two hours after promotional fliers said the go-go concert ended, 18-year-old Anthony Boatwright, a member of the band Heavy Impact, was shot during an altercation and possible robbery about two miles away, according to police reports and the venue owner.
The violations issued against Plaza 23 were not related to the homicide. Instead, they cite the owner's failure to follow his own security plan and operating outside the scope of his license by hosting an event for teenagers instead of adults, according to county officials.
During a Friday hearing on the citations, County Attorney Matthew Gordon said Plaza 23 violated its security plan by not employing the proper security. By the venue's own plan, Prince George's County police officers needed to be there instead of officers from other agencies. Mr. Gordon recommended that, at a minimum, the Temple Hills venue's dance hall license, which allows it to host for-profit dancing events, should be suspended until it can comply with the security plan.
The venue's owner, Dan Richardson, argued that it is difficult to hire county police officers to work parttime as security at his business because he has no regular schedule of events and those officers often seek out security jobs with predictable hours.
The county's Administrative Board, a three-member board comprising representatives from the police, fire and Environmental Resources departments, has two business days to rule on the violations. The Department of Environmental Resources will dole out any possible sanctions.
Under the auspices of a new public-safety law, over the past year the county has sought to better regulate nightclubs and other establishments to crack down on violent crime they say is associated with the businesses. …