At the October 3rd City Council meeting, an appeal hearing was held in regards to a suspension by the Clovis Police Department of a local nightclub’s entertainment permit.
The nightclub, “The Palace” had its entertainment permit revoked for serving alcohol to underage attendees at their nightclub on multiple occasions according to the Clovis PD.
Police Corporal and officer in charge of entertainment permits, Chris Hutchison was present at the meeting and detailed several occasions where The Palace nightclub was believed to or seriously suspected of serving underage patrons at their bar.
One event came after a traffic stop of an eighteen year old driver in which they were found to have a .05 blood alcohol concentration and were arrested for DUI. The juvenile later said they were drinking at The Palace.
In another incident, two eighteen year olds were outside in a large crowd that had gathered after the closing of most bars in the area and were found to be intoxicated. They too later stated that they were drinking at The Palace.
Clovis PD began taking a closer look at the establishment after receiving an anonymous phone call from a concerned parent in the Clovis community who believed that their eighteen year-old child had been drinking at The Palace nightclub after they came home intoxicated.
The police department’s efforts included an incident in which they entered the establishment without notifying the Palace ownership and searched for underage drinkers, along with the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency who ran their own undercover operation.
In light of finding “inconsistencies with security practices” such as not checking identification at the door, Clovis PD nor the ABC found any underage drinking.
On Friday August 12th, written notice was given to The Palace nightclub notifying them of the entertainment permit suspension.
What this suspension withheld was the playing of loud or live music in addition to the prohibition of live television, videos or jukeboxes played within the establishment.
This suspension was to be held until the end of the 2022 calendar year, but the ownership of The Palace, which includes Cesar Lossley, a self-proclaimed investor in the business, filed the appeal with the hopes of allowing their operation to play music until 12 o’clock midnight.
This had been a prior allowance under a separate entertainment permit suspension after the nightclub was host to a shooting last year that claimed two lives.
Chief Curt Fleming came to the defense of Officer Hutchison’s decision when he stated, “My concern is we’re gonna have an underage girl in the bathroom being sexually assaulted, which we’ve had in our bars in the past, we’re gonna have a DUI crash where teenagers are getting killed and if we do this to prevent that from happening, then I’d rather do this to educate the bar owners to make sure that in the future this is not gonna happen again.”
The hopes of the City Council and the police department is that the nightclub goes through the proper training in order to learn how to properly check for fake ID’s, something that Fleming said was “not the responsibility of the police department.”
The council voted to uphold the suspension of the entertainment permit until the end of the year by a vote of 4-0 with the absence of a vote from councilman Drew Bessinger who was not present at the meeting.