Others argue the violence has subsided in recent years.

"I don't think at this point it's as bad as it was in the late '80s, when crack hit the scene," says DJ C-Note. "That's when it was crazy. It's not like that now. It's gotten a lot better."

Some say race has played a role in shaping the debate. Many of the public officials who've spoken out against the predominantly black nightclubs are white.

"Go to any of those [night]clubs in Sauget, and it's the same thing; it's just not talked about," contends DJ Snow. "They're trying to pinpoint it and say it's just a black thing. It's not. As a white boy who has worked in these clubs, I can vouch for that."

Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of after-hours clubs is that in some cases the dance floor is the safest place people could be.

"If they got no place to go, it's only going to be worse," DJ Lonnie Bee points out. "That means you have more people giving house parties. And from my history of DJing, you have more crazy incidents at house parties than you do at clubs, 'cause there's no control."

Nowhere does this line of reasoning hold true more than at Club Casino, whose security measures may only be rivaled by those at a state penitentiary.

All patrons are frisked and swiped with a metal detector. Sixteen video cameras record areas both inside and out. A uniformed East St. Louis police officer often sits in the entrance. Golf carts shuttle customers to and from their cars.

And then there's the crew of nine bouncers who call themselves the Goon Squad. Four men are stationed in the parking lot, five inside the club. All look like they could play left tackle for the Rams.

The squad members claim their reputation alone deters most would-be troublemakers, but if a scrap does break out, they trigger "fight lights," strobes placed throughout the club, to alert fellow team members. The guards generally issue two warnings before giving anyone the boot. One of the combatants is kept behind for a few minutes to prevent the clash from continuing outside.

"I would throw my own brother out if I had to," says Chico, a Goon Squad member with light skin, sleepy eyes and arms the size of anacondas. "But honestly, we get more women fights than anything else. That's almost worse, because when women locked up, they locked up."

The only club rule that seems to be consistently flouted is Illinois' statewide smoking ban.

"We try to enforce it," Taylor says with a shrug. "But when they see us coming, they just put it out."

Mark Bramlett of the Illinois State Patrol says that none of the fifteen homicides mentioned in his agency's report are linked to Club Casino. Nevertheless, he says, the club's patrons cause problems after they leave the virtual lockdown.

"I can tell you anecdotally that we've had shootings on [Interstate] 255 early in the morning from patrons who've left that particular club," Bramlett says. "I can't call it a drive-by, 'cause both suspects were in cars driving down the interstate shooting at each other."

"There are just certain things that are beyond our control," Taylor counters. "You can't fault us for that."


Nearly everyone — Taylor included — agrees there's a seedy side to East St. Louis nightlife that the city could do without. There is, however, no such consensus when it comes to a solution.

Many of those in favor of rolling back the clubs' hours acknowledge that any new measures will be counterproductive if not applied to all of St. Clair County.

City council member Delbert Marion has a full-time job as chief of police in the tiny village of Brooklyn, a few miles north of East St. Louis on Route 3. The town is home to several popular strip clubs that remain open all night. Marion says the crowd the strip joints draw already strains his eight-man police force.

"On a Friday night our population already doubles," he says. "If East St. Louis is at the forefront of closing early, those displaced people are going to come to little communities like Alorton, Centreville and Washington Park, and other city leaders are going to have to look at doing the same thing."

"It doesn't matter if you close down at 10 p.m. or 2 a.m.," agrees former East St. Louis Mayor Carl Officer. "People who really want to go out and do their drinking will do it in those neighboring communities."

Officer proposes setting a last call of 11 p.m. for all places that sell liquor in East St. Louis. Business owners who want to continue serving would pay a fee for each additional hour they remain open. The licenses could be priced on a sliding scale based on square footage and gross revenue.

Officer, who consulted with Marion and NAACP leader Johnny Scott to create the plan, says the additional fees could cover the cost of installing surveillance cameras and stationing a uniformed police officer at each club.

"How are you going to put men and women out of business strictly because of an hourly thing?" asks Officer, who now runs his family's mortuary business. "Business is tough enough as it is. You need to treat everyone fairly and protect the employees of these places."

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8 comments
Jduchart55
Jduchart55

They racial profile over there like crazy. Every city in the u.s has clubs that stay open late. And every city has crime. You cant blame the crime in the city on the clubs. Crime is going to be there regardless. You have to have better security. They profiling people driving around and getting them on small time crimes. They dont focus on the big crimes or the real problems going on over there.

Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean

"Officer proposes setting a last call of 11 p.m. for all places that sell liquor in East St. Louis. Business owners who want to continue serving would pay a fee for each additional hour they remain open. The licenses could be priced on a sliding scale based on square footage and gross revenue."

Mr. officer do u know what's is the biggest problem in this city.

1). 95% of cars have no insurance nor a valid license plate nor a driver license, and a "BLUNT". 2). People ( young thugs ) are used to getting away with crimes easily here than anywhere else.3). City treats mom and pops store like shit. Only clubs and casino are high priority. 4). City need to create it's own towing yard. City will make more money in 3 days (club nights) than making money of liq. license fees.5). Fire that old moron from Public work job, He uses city equipment to clean (snow plowing) club parking lots.6). Start pulling over more people than what ever you are doing now. oops! i forgot everyone knows everyone. It's like a mobster family thing. 7). Start shooting more thugs, and send message.8). Try to drive by late night and see what a hell hole club brings.9). Pass new law that require more $$$$$$ for club liquor license.10). #10 is to violent to write here.11). IRS AND ATF need to "poke" these businesses more than hardworking people. 12). Streetlights are like from "IRON-AGE", criminals like to lurk in this city because it's to dark. Those street lights are like "Candle".13). Damn police station is to too far far away like fairytale. 14). City is too big to be handle by this police force.15). Nobody from out side wants to do business is here because "TIF", and because of that TAXES are like New york city. NO MORE TIF BECAUSE ONLY ARABS USE CITY MONEY OR SHOULD I SAY CITIZEN'S MONEY TO BUILD THEIR FORTUNE.16). $50,000 HOUSE PAYS TAXES EQUIVALENT TO $200,000 HOUSE IN FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS.17). EAST SAINT LOUIS NEED MORE THAN A LIQUOR STORE OR A CHURCH AT EVERY BLOCK. SO STOP GIVING AWAY THOSE LICENSES LIKE BANANA.18). CITY NEED NO BOOZE ON SUNDAY ALL DAY LAW!, THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE SOBER FOR A DAY TO REALIZE WHAT SHIT HOLE LIFE THEY LIVE IN.19). CLUBS NEED TO RELOCATE TO NON-RESIDENCE AREA THAN THEY CAN PARTY ALL NIGHT AND ALL DAY WITHOUT DISTURBING CITY.20). LEARN FROM WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU THINK SAINT LOUIS JUNK WILL GO TO FAIRVIEW OR BELLEVILLE..NO WHY NOT BECAUSE THEY CAN'T DO SHIT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING IN "EAST BOOGIE" OR SAUGET OR CAHOKIA OR CHARLY'S PARK.

mr.honesthardworkingman
mr.honesthardworkingman

"The obvious solution is that St.Louis should allow clubs to remain open until 6am. Why should all that revenue they talk about in ESTL be allowed to escape MO?"

YOU ARE RIGHT, MISSOURI SHOULD DO THAT. I WOULD BE THE HAPPIEST MAN ON FACE OF THE EARTH. EAST SAINT LOUIS CLUB WOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS IF THAT CROWD DOESN'T CROSS THAT BRIDGE. NOBODY FROM EAST SAINT LOUIS WANTS TO GO TO THEIR CITY CLUBS ANYWAY. ONLY THING THIS CITY GOT IS THOSE ARAB WHO ARE BUILDING THEIR PALACES WITH "TIF" MONEY.

mr.honesthardworkingman
mr.honesthardworkingman

Wow, east saint louis has no shame. Mr.club casino said he gave to much back to community, i call that spare change. He makes $100k/night. He pays way way to low property taxes than a "homeless man". Mr. mayor said everyone deserve a chance to run business responsibly, like staying open 'till 6am is responsible. Only "DEVIL" and "CRIMINALS" stay out that late. Mr. mayor you need to move near a club and try to get some sleep on weekend. Most of hard working people work hard all week along to get a good rest on weekend, but thanks to clubs and crime in this city that would be impossible. This city will never see its potential with the way its doing business. IT will BE GHETTO FOR EVER. WAKE UP PEOPLE AND TAKE BACK YOUR CITY.

Kevin A.
Kevin A.

East St. Louis' problems don't stem from clubbing...just like it doesn't stem from old people dumping their social security checks into slot machines throughout the night and well into the morning.The problem is a corrupt local government...crack cocaine...meth amphetamines and the like..Forget the weed, that keeps people calm and cool. The place is a dump....and the cops suck at their job....The east side of the river is a $hit hole...it's been a shit hole since the great migration...I know that comment makes a lot of people mad...sometimes the truth hurts...

wiki
wiki

Haida and Justus are close friends with the crowd who have been buying up land on the East Side right where the new bridge is going to land when it's built. They're probably also invested in it. That's what is prompting all of this. It's not about cleaning up East St. Louis. It's about killing off the competition in East St. Louis

Neither of them cares who gets murdered, because if they did, there would have been competent investigations into,, and prosecutions of, many previous murders that have taken place either in the unincorporated county or in incidents that crossed city lines. Once, repeated calls to the Sr. Clair sheriff's department failed to get a guy picked up who was driving around with a body in the trunk of his car for several days. Since they have one of the worst dispatch systems known to mankind they may not have even know about the first few calls. Finally he crossed into Madison County, where he was arrested immediately. Remember McAllister? Anyone?

As far as the state goes, they ought to be looking into this, not closing the East St. Louis bars earlier.

timbuc4
timbuc4

Why play games

We want people to be safe without losing liberties

but life isnt exactly that perfect as it is being played out

so if the government is doing their job right, and keeping money spent to the bare minimums and busting people INSIDE CITY HALL THAT would gain RESPECT FROM THE CITIZENS

NOT THE CITIZENS who will break the law no matter what but the good people

and in turn they will back you up when you enforce commonsense laws

public drinking/drunkness zero tolerance

keeping criminals in jail whether those jails are buildings or tents KEEPING CRIMINALS IN JAIL WILL SEND THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE

We care enough ABOUT THE GOOD PEOPLE THAT WE WILL DO OUR JOB AND PROTECT YOU

And bad guys and girls your time for trouble on the streets is over

you will go to jail and stay in jail

then everything else will work itself out

people that want to dance to 6 am will do so people that want to enjoy freedom will do so

ALL OTHERS GO TO JAIL

QUIT PLAYING AROUND

Tim
Tim

The obvious solution is that St.Louis should allow clubs to remain open until 6am. Why should all that revenue they talk about in ESTL be allowed to escape MO?

 
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