Lafayette

Sep 24, 2013 11:50 PM by Steven Albritton

Karma Nightclub Could Lose Liquor License As ATC Investigates Violent Incidents

A popular nightclub in downtown Lafayette is in danger of losing its liquor license. Karma Night Club & Lounge is under investigation by Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control. The club has had its share of problems. The most recent issue was back in July when a shooting inside left one person injured. Other complaints include fights that have spilled out onto Jefferson Street.

The Lafayette Police Department notified ATC of the issues because officers have had enough of these alleged incidents. One of those incidents nearly cost Dustin Locks his life.

"I seen people start running. I heard a gunshot, and I started running too. I didn't know I was hit," the New Iberia resident said. Locks was hit once in his back.

Monday, ATC held a hearing in Lafayette about the recent events that have occurred in the club. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft declined to comment Tuesday, but at Monday's hearing Craft testified against the club. He was quoted by The Independent Monthly saying, "Any clubs that are a hip hop venue, we generally have more problems with than other clubs that don't have that type of venue. Some of the problems we've had are fights, batteries, we had a shooting, we had some stabbings."

The ATC weighed in.

"Because we permit the alcohol permit, we have the jurisdiction of going in to make sure that the club is not threatening the public health, safety and welfare of the community," ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert said.

We pulled numbers on incidents at Karma and other night clubs in the area to compare. Over the past five years at Karma, they've had 5.5 violent crimes for every 100 people who've visited the club. Other clubs within walking distance of Karma had much higher rates of violence. One club had six violent crimes per 100 visitors, and another had 14 per 100.

ATC Commissioner Hebert, says they don't look at the violence comparisons, only the issues being brought to them about the business in question.

"We're not comparing what goes on in one club to another one. It's our responsibility, and particularly as a commissioner, to just make sure that anybody that holds a permit from our office is doing so responsibly," Hebert said.

We reached out to the owner of Karma but he and his attorney both declined to comment because the investigation is on going. Louisiana ATC will make decision on whether or not to revoke Karma's liquor license in the next 30 days.

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