Monday, June 16, 2014

IMPD Decides Illegal Clubs Might Contribute To Crime Problem--Again

It's not rocket science. For decades, local law enforcement has pretty much turned a blind eye towards illegal clubs that operate in Indianapolis' African-American community, whether they are pea shake houses where illegal gambling is the primary business or after hours' clubs that provide alcohol, exotic dancers and prostitutes, all without a license. Things usually have to hit a critical mass at a particular location before law enforcement finally acts to close them down, usually prompted by numerous complaints from neighbors. The media is called in for show, a few arrests are made and then all is forgotten. The media typically doesn't even stay focused on the story long enough to find out if anyone is actually prosecuted.

This scenario repeated itself again this weekend when IMPD invited Indianapolis Star reporter Jill Disis to follow them along on a planned raid on an after hours' club on Hovey Street tied to recent criminal activity where officers had been working undercover for months. Naturally, someone with knowledge of the planned raid tipped off the operators in advance and the party was over by the time police arrived. Actually, police waited until 4 a.m. to conduct the raid so they obviously weren't too interested in breaking up the party while it was in full swing. The police got lucky when a few stragglers tipped them off to another after hours' location, one that could not have been unknown to IMPD.
By the time the police sergeant pulled up to the large warehouse on North Hovey Street around 4 a.m. Sunday, he already knew his opportunity was gone.
The building, which looks out of place in this otherwise residential Near-Northside neighborhood, had been teeming with people last weekend. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers had found hundreds of people gambling illegally, smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol, even though the warehouse doesn't have a liquor license.
In fact, police had been keeping an eye on the place for a while.
In April, officers were called to the building on reports of gunshots. Earlier this month, two women told police someone hit them with brass knuckles and stole their purses.
Last week, a 28-year-old woman was shot and critically injured there.
Those activities had led Sgt. Bill Carter, who works with IMPD's Nuisance and Abatement unit, to file an order to have the building in the 3400 block of North Hovey Street — called the After Party — closed.
Maybe last week's shooting scared patrons off, Carter speculated. Maybe they somehow found out about IMPD's plans.
As Carter taped his shut-down notice to the building's front door, only a few people remained scattered outside.
As luck would have it, the stragglers outside the After Party were all Carter needed to salvage the otherwise disappointing situation.
Thanks to information they provided, what could have been a failed raid turned into a double raid, as a team of IMPD officers swept two Northside "after hours" clubs early Sunday.
Officers closed down the Hovey Street location and busted a second party two miles away at a breakfast joint that officers say played host to a slew of illegal activities, including alcohol consumption, gambling and exotic dancing.
Carter said the stragglers outside the After Party told him the party planned for Hovey Street had moved to Big Fella's Restaurant at Fairfield and North College avenues . . .

According to Sgt. Carter, police found liquor being sold at Big Fella's without a license, women in G-strings circulating among the patrons, private rooms with stripper poles and rooms with illegal gambling devices. The owner of Big Fella's, Denise McFadden, tried to get a liquor license earlier this year according to story, but neighborhood opposition led the owner to withdraw her application. Here's the kicker. IMPD made no arrests at either location. "Police said that's because the original SWAT team set up for the Hovey Street raid had been disbanded, and only three officers were on hand at Big Fella's," Disis writes. "Police did not want to try to control the crowd and issue citations with so few officers on the scene." Whatever. Sgt.Carter tells Disis that he will ask city attorneys for help in getting a restraining order to close Big Fella's.

It's worth noting that Big Fella's is located within the Mid-North TIF area. It's actually a blighted area within the newly-created TIF district that Councilor John Barth or his biggest cheerleader, Star political columnist Matt Tully, could give a hoot about. Instead, our corrupt politicians' number one priority was providing millions of your tax dollars to a politically-connected developer for a mixed use project in booming Broad Ripple Village that includes a Whole Foods grocery store. Remember, TIFs have nothing to do with revitalizing economically depressed areas in this city; they're all about finding a source of funding to funnel public tax dollars into the hands of politically-connected developers. Don't believe the BS the media in this town feeds you.


Anonymous said...

I think that IMPD needs a replacement of the person in charge of the North side! The guy is obviously not aware of what is going on and able to stop the problems.

Anonymous said...

"According to Sgt. Carter, police found liquor being sold at Big Fella's without a license, women in G-strings circulating among the patrons, private rooms with stripper poles and rooms with illegal gambling devices."

I'll bet what you or any reader of this story was doing at that time was way less fun.

Anonymous said...

A few years back we had a bad hail storm pass through Indianapolis and it hit the Irvington neighborhood pretty hard. Several of my neighbors had their siding damaged and called their insurers and their contractors. But as old damaged siding and roofs were being torn off so they could be repaired and replaced, Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission was writing stop work orders and forcibly halted all work. Beautiful homes were left exposed to the weather because the Historic Preservation dept felt slighted that nobody had sought their approval before having their homes repaired. It forever damaged the relationship between that agency and its former supporters in the Irvington neighborhood. Now longterm residents are moving out in huge numbers. Every house currently for sale in the Irvington neighborhood represents a long term homeowner unwilling to put up with the bullying tactics of Indy Historic Preservation, which won’t let you change out an old door or roof a garage or rebuild a bad set of steps without an infuriating application process that requires notification to literally a hundred people by mail, hearings, sketches and estimates, just to name a few. So its oddly disconcerting to know that actual criminals are openly gambling and prostituting and illegally selling and consuming alcohol in some neighborhoods with a hands off approach by police, while outstanding homeowners who only want to maintain their homes are being treated extremely heavy handedly by Indy Preservation. I know a dozen homeowners and rental property owners, all fine, conscientious owners, who have had enough and put their property on the market just this month alone. Its extremely sad. With all the slum properties literally falling down in Indianapolis, its the good homeowners who only want to keep their properties up that are being bullied by the City. I voted for Mayor Ballard, but I don’t think he’s been a good mayor, and I don’t think he cares about Indianapolis homeowners being slammed by these kind of regulations and these huge increases in our water and sewer bills. And I’m getting tired of seeing neighbors move out and hearing them blame Indianapolis Historic Preservation for making them fed up. Talk about the destruction of a neighborhood. The city is driving people away.

Anonymous said...

At least Frank "Bling" Anderson isn't around to order the police report remove references to corrupt Democrat politicians appearing at illegal gambling locations....