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Las Vegas shuts down Fremont East club after ‘pattern’ of violence

Updated January 15, 2020 - 6:45 pm

Citing a series of violent instances that have occurred at a downtown business, the Las Vegas City Council shut down the Fremont East nightclub 512 over the protests of its owners.

The council’s decision to strip 512 of its business license followed a complaint for disciplinary action against owner RTB Inc. and an hourlong public hearing Wednesday.

The complaint issued by the city detailed occurrences dating to July 2017 including reports by patrons that they were roughed up by club security.

Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Beth Schmidt, one of three officers who testified during the hearing, said that club security’s penchant for pursuing clubgoers outside the business boundaries was unacceptable. Officers showed surveillance video illustrating violent interactions between security and patrons including one guard knocking a man unconscious and no employees coming to the man’s aid as he laid motionless on the sidewalk.

The most serious violence within the complaint described a shooting by suspects involved in a fight at the club, formerly known as Red, on Dec. 23, 2017. The suspects were kicked out of the club by security and returned, shooting at the guard of nearby pizza restaurant, Evel Pie. The guard was struck four times, according to the complaint.

Attorney Clyde DeWitt, hired to represent the club, said Wednesday that ownership fired bad-acting security guards. He also said he believed as recently as Tuesday that 512 would be sold, which he presumed would resolve the current trouble with the city.

DeWitt also spoke about a “dramatic change in the business” that occurred in May after the club was shut down for two weeks following two fights involving security within days. He said ownership added metal detectors and patron scanners, changed the club name and music format and initiated a new concept for a split establishment with a separate club and restaurant.

There had been no major issues at the club since those changes were implemented, and the city has no present issues with the most recent security plan, according to DeWitt, as he sought to delay any council decision.

There were 42 calls for police service at the club since May, with half self-initiated by officers, authorities said.

Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, who represents the district where the club is located, was unconvinced.

“How many more victims are out there that haven’t come before law enforcement to tell them that they’ve been mistreated?” Diaz asked aloud.

She said the city had been patient with 512 until now, but that it was time to act.

The club was licensed to operate by city officials in August 2016.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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