Violence continues to plague bars and clubs in Indianapolis, despite aggressive policing by the city. An investigation by IndyStar and Fox59 found that the state’s inadequate regulation, poor oversight, and lax enforcement has allowed violence to persist at these establishments.
On May 23, 2021, Joseph Ajiboye visited Club Kalakutah in Indianapolis for a night out, only to end up being rushed to the hospital with a bullet wound in his leg. The incident marked the fifth time in over a year that shots were fired at the Lafayette Square-area club, one of many establishments in the city plagued by violence.
According to police, this time the shooter was one of the club’s unlicensed and heavily armed security guards, who fled the scene after the shooting. When officers arrived, the club locked its doors and refused to cooperate with the authorities.
This disturbing incident is just one example of the rampant violence that has plagued Indianapolis bars, nightclubs, and event centers in recent years. According to an investigation by IndyStar, there have been over 600 reports of violent acts tied to such establishments.
Despite repeated warnings from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Club Kalakutah was allowed to continue operating, despite its lengthy history of problems. IMPD has reported unlicensed boxing matches, illegal strip shows, and several assaults at the club.
Despite frequent visits from the police, IMPD has claimed that it is powerless to shut down the club, as it is prohibited by state law from regulating alcohol businesses. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated issue in Indianapolis.
The state’s Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, which has the authority to regulate alcohol businesses, is a small agency with just 73 excise officers to monitor over 15,000 bars, restaurants, and stores that sell alcohol, and rarely intervenes when violence erupts.
The state has also reduced the number of violations issued to businesses and underage drinking checks by 80% since 2014, and the nuisance bar program created in 2019 has proven to be largely ineffective.
Unlike neighboring states, Indiana law prohibits cities from using nuisance ordinances to regulate alcohol establishments, leaving local police powerless to deal with the violence.
The investigation by IndyStar and Fox59 found that the inadequate regulation, poor oversight, and lax enforcement by the state has created a culture of impunity in many Indianapolis bars and clubs, with shootings, drugs, and sexual assaults becoming all too common.
IMPD’s Assistant Chief Chris Bailey expressed frustration at the lack of local authority over these establishments, saying, “It’s frustrating to us that we have very little local authority and local controls over those establishments that serve alcohol.”
The problem is being exacerbated by the fact that bar owners and their attorneys are aware of the limits imposed by state law, making it difficult for the police to take any meaningful action.
The problems faced by Indianapolis bars and clubs are also spilling over into nearby businesses and neighborhoods, putting innocent people at risk, driving down property values, and putting a strain on police resources.
Despite repeated requests for comment, the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission declined to be interviewed for the investigation. In a statement, the commission claimed that “public safety and security at bars and other establishments” are of the utmost importance, and that it receives routine updates from local law enforcement.
However, the findings of the investigation suggest that much more needs to be done to address the rampant violence plaguing Indianapolis bars and clubs and ensure the safety of the public.
– This article was written with the assistance of ChatGPT
3 responses to “Indy police spending millions in overtime to patrol violent bars and clubs.”
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