City lawyers yesterday asked the District's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to revoke the license of Club U, saying the go-go club is the cause of a "persistent pattern" of violence and unruly behavior in a Northwest neighborhood.
The board will decide whether the club's license should be taken away permanently after a "show cause" hearing that began yesterday. Attorneys for the city and the club told the board that they expect to call 21 witnesses.
The club, in the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, a city office building at 14th and U streets NW, had its license suspended in February. The board, citing repeated violence in or near Club U, voted unanimously last month to continue the suspension imposed after the Feb. 13 killing of Terrence Brown, 31. In addition to Brown's stabbing, the board found that a woman was knocked unconscious, two patrons were involved in an altercation and shots were fired that evening.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, City Administrator Robert C. Bobb and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) want to close the club.
David Wilmot, an attorney for the club owners, said in his opening statement that "whatever happened on February 13 was a complete and total aberration."
Wilmot said the city should take some responsibility for whatever mayhem occurs outside the club because police presence is stretched too thin in the area and police did not respond to a request by club owners for private-duty officers.
"The government failed in enforcing the law," Wilmot said in his statement.
In the opening statement of Walter Adams, an assistant attorney general for the District, he listed other violence allegedly committed by patrons of the club or near the club, including another killing and several other shootings. "This is not about music or go-go, this is not about D.C. agencies or their conduct,'' he said. "This is about what happened near the establishment and the actions of their staff. And there is a persistent pattern that occurred over and over again."
The hearing is scheduled to continue May 10.