Monday, October 11, 2010

Shooting Of Off-Duty Cop At Downtown Club Calls For Review Of Policy

Despite the enormity of the conflict of interest issues raised when it was discovered dozens of IMPD officers worked off duty at OmniSource while stolen metal products were sold to the business and several other police officers working at the metal recycling company actually worked stolen metal investigations for the police department, few changes were implemented by the Ballard administration to regulate the practice of cops working private security jobs while off duty. This past weekend, an off-duty police officer was shot while working at a controversial downtown club. WTHR reports on the shooting of Officer Kerry Morse:

An Indianapolis police officer was shot and wounded in downtown Indianapolis early Sunday morning.

The wounded officer is 39-year-old Kerry Morse. Officer Morse is assigned to East District and is a 4 1/2 year veteran. He worked for the Crime Lab before becoming a sworn officer.

Medics responded to a report of an officer shot in the 100 block of North Delaware. Officer Morse was taken to Wishard Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon.

Police say the officer was working off duty at the Club Level nightclub at 120 East Market Street when he was called to break up a fight outside.

"Two groups of people were in a fight, shots were fired, our officer received a gunshot wound to the shoulder," said IMPD Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Police say Officer Morse was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but the bullet missed the vest and struck him in the shoulder.

Officers from the department, including Chief Paul Ciesielski, showed up downtown when they heard what happened. They helped detain the handful of people involved in the fight and witnesses, hoping to find the gunman.

"There were people inside the club prior to the event, in close proximity. We have reason to believe some of the people ejected from the club may have been involved," said Sgt. Thompson.

While police wouldn't say for sure whether the problems inside the club led to the shooting outside, they say they've been called to the club about 50 times in the last year. One of those incidents had a very similar outcome. Almost exactly a year ago, a fight ended in gunfire, with a victim shot in the head on Delaware Street.

Police are questioning several witnesses. So far, no arrests have been made in the shooting and no suspect description has been released.
Police have responded to calls at this club 50 times in the last year, and this isn't the first shooting. One occurred last year. There was also someone shot and killed in the parking lot of the club (then known as the Vault) a couple of years ago. In 2006, three people were shot and killed after leaving the club. One has to wonder why this club continues to have its alcohol license renewed with all of crime problems that have arisen there, particularly since it is located in the heart of downtown and just a block from the City-County Building where IMPD is headquartered. One also has to wonder why IMPD would allow its officers to work off duty for club owners who operate an establishment that repeatedly is the source of criminal activity.

According to a Fox59 News report this morning, the club's owner says it employs four off-duty police officers and pats down people for weapons before they enter the club. The club's owner also disputed the number of police runs to the club documented by the police, claiming not all of those runs were responding to problems inside the club.

UPDATE: We may not have to wait too long for action. It looks like Club Level's liquor license is up for renewal next week and Det. Bill Carter, IMPD Nuisance Abatement Officer, indicates there will be testimony in opposition to the renewal of the liquor license according to WRTV. On another note, a reader asks me if it isn't the case that one of the owners of the controversial 300 East restaurant/bar in the Julia Carson Government Center and former owner of another controversial club on the City's far northside, Savoy, that was closed is an owner of this club. Anyone have any ideas on that?



That's the same nightclub that had all those shootings back in 2006 and 2007.

I know the owner because I held a charity event there. He tolerates this particular crowd for the money. Most bars won't tolerate them. The patrons pay outrageous cover charges ($35 or more) just to get in. They have to pass through metal detectors and the owner hires lots of security.

Obviously there aren't metal detectors to be outside on the street.

I really feel for the people who live in the condos around that area. They've got to be sick of these animals by now.

Paul K. Ogden said...

HFFT, Condos? How about all the busienss people that are around that establishment. Some of us work late hours!

artfuggins said...

I don't think the off duty employment needs to be reviewed. I think the liquor license for that club needs to be reviewed. 50 police runs in a year including one that involved a murder. Now a shooting of a police officer. Close it down.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"...Phyllis and Marla used the money to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates,..."

"...Phyllis Stevens' attorney earlier unsuccessfully argued to the court that his client was incompetent to stand trial because she was mentally ill with dissociative identity disorder as a result..."

Yep...I guess he's right!

Yea, I guess she is

Concerned Taxpayer said...

That last entry under my name was NOT posted by me. Something went wrong.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Off duty employment needs to go through the department. That way, officers do NOT owe an allegiance to the bar, junk yard, etc. that hires them.
The Professional Standards Unit tried to get that going several years ago, but it was shot down by someone.
Most major cities do it that way. Forward thinking cities do it that way.

Indy4u2c said...

This place is a nuisance....but they let Club Level and Cloud 9 both have liquor licenses. There is something wrong when reckless barkeeps have this type of violence.

The liquor license needs to be haste!

artfuggins said...

Who are the owners of Club Level?

Advance Indiana said...

Paul, Doesn't your law firm represent the owners of Club Level?

Anonymous said...

The should just close it down, but it is not that expensive to get in. I deal with events and promotions for various clubs, during special events (Circle City Classic, Black Expo, ect.) the club is only about $20, so on a regular night I'm sure it is no more than about $10. The type of people that attend this club are not going to pay too much, many nights it is advertised as free. The club does have metal detectors, but no standards otherwise. I would not put this club on the same platform as clubs like Cloud 9. Cloud 9 has cameras running (at least on the outside and in the enty way), they have a dress code (just recently only lenient to those willing to be heavily taxed to dress otherwise) and a seemingly better security team.

At the end of the say however, the real issue perhaps may be the fact that these bartenders and owners do not obey the liquor laws. They are not cutting poeple that are clearly intoxicated off like they are supposed to. It's about the money, and they aren't the likely ones to have to deal with these people when they leave the club, which is when the choas begins. You can't control the parking lot and beyond.