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Owners of Dstrkt Nightclub hope to work with police, city officials following weekend violence

Posted at 6:30 AM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 06:30:34-04

CLEVELAND — The owners of a downtown night club hope to work hand-in-hand with Cleveland city officials and the police department to address and, ultimately, prevent incidents from happening in the Rockwell part of downtown.

Early Sunday morning, a large crowd tried to enter the Dstrkt Nightclub in the 2200 of St Clair, according to the club’s owners. Club officials said security denied the group entry because the club was winding down for the evening. Additionally, club security noticed two individuals in the crowd that they worried might cause an issue.

At some point, someone opened fire, leaving several shell casings behind. In addition to two people being shot, Cleveland police also reported two people showing up to MetroHealth Medical Center with stab wounds. None of the injuries are considered life threatening.

“We haven’t had any incidents in between these walls,” said Michael Harris, the club’s chief operator. “We’ve done everything we can to keep this place as safe as possible. Unfortunately things happen outside that we don’t have any control over. We want to rebuild this area and this community. We want to keep it safe. The safety of the patrons is definitely the most important thing.”

In the months before this weekend’s incident, Harris said he and the club’s attorney, Allen Boseman, had multiple conversations with city and police department officials.

“We were proactive months ago in meeting with the councilman, meeting with some of the police officers, letting them know that this is a huge investment in this neighborhood,” Boseman said. “People have not taken the time and the dollars to do what has been done with the Dstrkt in this neighborhood. We requested that we have increased police presence, off duty officers. As we all know, if the cops are there, it decreases the risk significantly.”

Harris said the club wants to employ off-duty law enforcement officers to help supplement its roster of 15 private security guards. While the Cleveland Division of Police doesn’t coordinate private security, the Division does have the ultimate authority in approving secondary employment requests.

Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, the public information officer for the Cleveland Division of Police, said via email Monday evening that there have been increased patrols in the area following recent incidents.

“It would be a shame for the city if we can’t continue to redevelop the city and extend the nice areas,” Boseman said. “They shouldn’t just stop at East 9th. They should extend all the way down. That’s what it’s going to take. As far as incidents happening in [the club], they aren’t happening. They’re doing their part. Now we’re just asking for the city and the police department to work with us and to do their part. We’ll work hand in hand with them. We’re not running from it.”