04-20-2018  5:43 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

April 24 is Voter Registration Deadline for May 15 Primary Election

Tuesday, April 24, is voter registration and party choice deadline for May 15 Primary Election ...

Portland Libraries Celebrate National Poetry Month

April poetry events and recommended reading from Multnomah County libraries ...

PCRI Launches the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan

Pathway 1000 a bold and ambitious 10-year displacement mitigation initiative ...

AG Rosenblum Launches New Resource on Oregon’s New Gun Safety Laws

One-page handout aims to educate Oregonians about the new law ...

Ethos Music Center Honors Portland Attorney Dave Baca with Annual Resonance Award

Founder Charles Lewis to receive first-ever Ethos Visionary Award at the May 2 event ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

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Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...

Civil Rights Community Doesn’t Need to Look Farr for Racism in Trump Court Nominees

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, explains organization's opposition to Trump's nomination of Thomas Farr ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

scales of justice
By The Skanner News

A pending lawsuit against the city of Portland, alleging a conspiracy against the Fontaine Bleau nightclub will go before a jury – denying motions from the city and individually named plaintiffs to dismiss the conspiracy claims.

The lawsuit names the city, the Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission – as well as Mayor Charlie Hales, former Portland Police Captain Mark Kruger and several individual police officers – as participants in a campaign against Black nightclubs, particularly those playing hip-hop music.

Judge John Acosta’s order does grant relief to the defendants relating to a few aspects of the original complaint. Moving forward, the suit won’t address initial claims that the defendants violated Fontaine Bleau patrons’ right to freedom of association. The initial tort claim also includes several case histories of Black-owned clubs being shuttered by the city, and alleges a historical pattern. Acosta ruled the historical allegations are immaterial to the substance of the case.

“The court finds Plaintiffs’ allegations relating to the City’s treatment of other nightclubs owned by and catering to black individuals, and playing music that attracts primarily black patrons, are material and pertinent. However, Plaintiffs’ purely editorial comments…are not relevant to a nightclub but, rather, relate to the treatment of black citizens of the City in general and are stricken,” the order reads. However, a paragraph of the complaint establishing that music is protected speech will not be stricken from the suit.

But the other motions to dismiss were denied. Attorney Jesse Merithew, who represents DeWalt Productions, which owned the club in the case, told The Skanner he expects to confer next week about scheduling a jury trial.

“We’re happy with it,” Merithew said. “The whole case is still there. We’re looking forward to getting this case before a jury.”

The city of Portland did not respond to a request for comment on this case.

The Fontaine Bleau, owned by African American promoter Rodney DeWalt, closed in 2014 following the fatal shooting of Portland resident Durieul Harris inside the club. The suit alleges the city and police bureau had information about known risks of violence inside the club, but withheld them from DeWalt. The suit also notes the club was blanketed with noise complaints, despite being in an area with very little residential development, and that all the complaints were generated by a single neighborhood resident.

DeWalt Productions seeks economic damages in the amount of $2.5 million, non-economic damages in the amount of $5 million and punitive damages in the amount of $15 million, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. 

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