Pat-Down Protocols Queried After Slashing at Club Muse
Muse Nightclub and Lounge, located at 717 6th Street NW, plans to reopen with tighter security procedures after D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier shut the place down for 96 hours in reaction to a May 16 face slashing.
The violence erupted when one male club-goer bumped into another. There was some shoving, a head butt and two punches before one of the men, the smaller of the two, pulled out a box cutter.
According to an investigative report by the District's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), the blade wielder twice slashed the left side of his victim's face, leaving behind deep gashes. The man with the box cutter was arrested by police. The victim was taken to the hospital. In a letter to the ABRA, Lanier called Muse's security the night of the slicing "inadequate," and asked for a revocation of the club's license.
Reviewing the incident at a fact-finding hearing on Wednesday, the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board wanted to know why the assailant wasn't searched for weapons as he entered the club. They figured Muse regularly frisked its patrons. Steven O'Brien, a lawyer for the nightspot explained that club security didn't pat down the crowd that evening because it was Sunday. He says security staffers only frisk patrons on Thursdays. O'Brien says the reason why is that on Sundays, the club attracts a mature, "well-dressed"crowd for a Latin-themed night while "On Thursday, it's a younger crowd...I'm trying to think of a way to say it, a less sophisticated crowd."
Speaking at the hearing on behalf of concerned community members, Terry Carter, who lives in a condo located next door to the hang-out, had a number of complaints about Muse, one was that, in informing the board that its Thursday night clientele was being inspected for weapons because it's a "younger" crowd, Muse was using "code speak": "Thursday night is hip-hop night," he said. "They are patting down the hip-hoppers."
Carter says that neighbors were particularly not amused about the slashing. "We even had to clean the blood up in front of our building that morning," he says.
O'Brien says the club knows it made a mistake not searching the "mature" crowd for weapons: "We now know that it can happen, because it has happened." He says that when the club reopens, all its customers will be searched.