(KMOV) – Officials in East St. Louis have voted to suspend the liquor license at a Metro-East club. Blackmon's Plaza came under fire after a violent fight broke out at the club on Saturday night
Blackmon's was cited for violating the city's nuisance law, security ordinance and the state's smoking ban. Officials fined the club $1,000 and suspended its liquor license until April 20.
An inside look at a nightclub fight in East St. Louis on Saturday reveals intense violence among a crowd of about 3,000 gathered to see a rap concert at Blackmon’s Plaza.
The fight spiraled out of control when rappers were ordered to clear the stage. Some fans were hit with chairs – others were pistol whipped. A security guard was even shot in the hand. Witnesses say the gun went off on accident.
East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks temporarily shut down the club. “The issue seems to be that security could just not handle what was going on that night,” Parks says.
Mayor Parks is demanding answers after the seven-hour rap show ended in a melee with guards appearing to rile rather than subdue the crowd.
“Sucker-punching somebody when they're not looking, or beating somebody on the ground knocked out is not protecting yourself, that's just being an animal,” says Demetrius Dowdell who caught the brawl on tape.
The mayor is now calling for off-duty police officers to add to club security inside as well as on-duty officers to patrol outside during big events.
“Whether it's 6 o'clock in the day or 2 o'clock in the morning, we want people to come to East St. Louis and know that they're going to be safe and know that they're going to have a great time,” says Mayor Parks.
Fans say the fight puts a black eye on the local hip-hop scene, but witnesses say those who were brawling are not even from the area, but from Indianapolis.
Blackmon’s Plaza has been open for more than 50 years on the East Side. Illinois state police are now looking into criminal charges, and there are reports circulating that Blackmon’s Plaza may have a strip club in the basement, unbeknownst to the police chief.
On the night of the fight, it’s reported that club-goers seeking cover from the melee were charged $10 to head to that basement.