06-23-2017  5:04 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

Portland Musician, Educator Thara Memory Dies

Grammy-winning Trumpeter, composer, teacher died Saturday at the age of 68 ...

St. Johns Center for Opportunity to Host Meet the Employer Event June 27

Employers represented will include Mary’s Harvest and Del Monte ...

New Self-Defense Organization Offers Training to Youth in Multnomah County

EMERJ-SafeNow offers July classes for children ages 8-10 and youth ages 15-19 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

Bill Maher Betrayed Black Intellectuals

Armstrong Williams talks about the use of the n-word and the recent Bill Maher controversy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

scales of justice

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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