VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - According to Club Royale Blue's attorney, owners have decided to voluntarily shut the club's doors until the next court hearing.
"We have voluntarily closed without admitting we've done anything wrong," said the club's attorney, Kevin Martingayle. "We have done this to cooperate, and we will remain closed until October 22 which is the next injunction hearing."
The City of Virginia Beach is seeking an injunction to take away the club's Alcoholic Beverage Control license pending a full review by the ABC Board. State code allows a city to do this if officials think the owners have let an establishment become a meeting place for persons committing serious criminal violations of the law in, or immediately adjacent to, the premises.
Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera testified in court Tuesday the club's operator Barry Davis allowed a culture to take place in the club resulting in 111 police calls over a 16-month period. In August, a man was struck with a bottle on the dance floor of the club and killed.
"To me, in my eyes, at this point in time, they have allowed a culture to take place for whatever reason... I don't think they meant to do it. It happened. They have never really fixed the problem... to me there is only one thing they can do is close and reinvent themselves," Chief Cervera said.
Martingayle asked the Chief about the Community Policing Program the city boasts of to identify problems and help correct them.
"What corrective action have you taken short of instituting the litigation that brings us together today?" asked Martingayle.
Chief Cervera answered, "That is the exact corrective action I am taking, sir... to close down."
The Chief spoke about crime spilling over into the parking lot of a neighboring 7-Eleven.
"People go to the 7-Eleven with their kids late at night on a hot summer night," Cervera said. "They should not have to have shots fired. They should not have to see big fights in the parking lot. They shouldn't have the cops and ambulances there. This is a neighborhood we are talking about. This is a community we are talking about."
Martingayle kept pushing Cervera about what the club should have done to cut down on the problems.
"I am not going to say what they should have done. We have been down that road Mr. Martingayle. I am not going to say what Barry Davis should have done. It is his responsibility not mine," Cervera said.
In a hearing last week, an ABC special agent testified it is the music played in the club that led to and attracts crime.
"I don't think it is the genre of music that has to do with safety... that places that play this type of music, and have this type of entertainment typically have more crime," Cervera said. "I have never made that comment."
When asked by Martingayle whether he has ever held that opinion the Chief answered, "No, sir."
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