Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Troubled picture of club described

November 20, 2007


Last Call may be nearing last call

City leaders hammered on guns, gangs and drugs as poart of a hearing in front of the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control, who will decide whether to renew Last Call's state drinking license. Enlarge video

City attorneys and police officers spent seven hours Monday presenting testimony to state regulators about a trifecta of troubles that surround the controversial downtown bar Last Call.

The trifecta: guns, gangs and drugs.

City leaders hammered on those three themes as part of a hearing in front of the Alcohol Beverage Control division's director, who will decide whether to renew the state drinking license of Last Call, 729 N.H.

"A huge number of the patrons are gang members," said Sgt. Max Miller, who has frequently patrolled the area around the bar for the Lawrence Police Department. "That is the problem in my book."

But an attorney for Last Call and its owner, Dennis Steffes, said the city hasn't made a significant number of arrests inside the bar, is wrongly holding Steffes responsible for activities that happen outside of the bar and dislikes the club because it plays hip-hop music.

"The evidence will show that this isn't about how Last Call is run, but it is about the patrons of Last Call," attorney Dan Owen said. "What you are being asked to do is very, very dangerous because you are being asked to not renew a license of an establishment not because of what happens there but because of who goes there."

Undercover results

City attorneys presented two police officers from the Mission Police Department who agreed to work undercover in the Lawrence bar scene this summer. Those officers said they frequently saw evidence of marijuana smoking inside the club and saw club patrons regularly "throwing gang signs."

Officer Anthony Morgan of the Mission Police Department said he had never seen drug use so prevalent in any bar. He described a scene of "Bloods," a prominent gang, sitting next to the dance floor in plain sight of Last Call security personnel "throwing up their signs and smoking marijuana."

"Basically it is Bloods on the lower level and Crips on the upper level," said Morgan, who said he was trained to recognize gang clothing and gang signs.

Morgan also told of a seeing a patron - about four feet from a club security official - hollow out a cigar, fill it with marijuana and begin smoking it. He also said a man who appeared to be a bartender at the club went into the restroom and began snorting a white powder through a straw.

But Owen questioned whether crimes had actually taken place because there are no police reports showing that any of those individuals seen by the undercover agent ever were arrested or charged with a crime.

Sgt. Dan Ward of the Lawrence Police Department said that is not for a lack of effort on the part of local authorities. Instead, he said the management of Last Call has not been cooperative. He said on several occasions when uniformed police officers enter the bar, management staff of the establishment rush to the bathrooms and a VIP room to alert patrons that police are in the building.

The undercover officers weren't used to make the arrest because they didn't have proper backup immediately at hand, and the force did not want to risk blowing its cover.

Armor-piercing firepower

City attorneys also presented several photos of weapons found in vehicles in the parking lots immediately adjacent to Last Call. Among the more powerful weapons found were a pistol version of the AR-15 or M16 military assault rifle. A Ruger Mini-14 rifle also was found. It was equipped to handle a bayonet and was found with a rotary clip that held 50 to 100 rounds of high-grade ammunition.

When probed to describe how powerful the weapon was, Sgt. Miller was asked whether the police department's ballistic body armor would stop the ammunition found in the weapon.

"No," Miller said. "No, it wouldn't."

But Owen said the city hadn't done enough to show those guns were linked to Last Call patrons, was holding Steffes responsible for matters he doesn't have jurisdiction to control and failed to recognize the significant security measures Steffes has put in place.

Steffes has at least a dozen security personnel at the club - some of them armed - and has four security cameras inside the club. Patrons also go through a pat-down and pass through a metal detector.

"They run the tightest ship in terms of security of any bar in town," Owen said.

Owen also said security had been improved since a May 2006 incident where seven shots were fired inside the club. No one was injured in that incident, which has not yet been solved by Lawrence police. But several police officers testified about the scene following the incident and said the rush of about 500 people onto the street put several patrons at extreme risk of being trampled.

"There was a lot of screaming, and people were starting to force their way through the double doors of Last Call," said officer Todd Polson, who was first on the scene. "It was total panic."

Last Call's defense

The hearing is scheduled to continue at 9:30 a.m. this morning at the Kansas Department of Revenue in Topeka. The city presented its case Monday. Steffes is scheduled to present his defense today.

Tom Groneman, director of the ABC, will make a ruling on whether to renew the drinking establishment license of Last Call in the days after the hearing. The bar can't operate without the state license, although Steffes would have several opportunities to appeal the ABC decision.

The city is going through the state process because city leaders have no ability to simply pull the license from Last Call on their own.


Michael Capra 10 years, 4 months ago

sound like the abc director needs to go by the law and not how he feels that day.Bring in the AG and make the abc guy get told what the law is and make him accountable for his actions.Right now he answers to no one

UKept 10 years, 4 months ago

" But Owen said the city hadn't done enough to show those guns were linked to Last Call patrons" guess is they belong to those gun toting f***kers over at Borders.

gkwhdw 10 years, 4 months ago

hope this isn't the infamous ex-Dan Owen of Jefferson County.Wouldn't believe a word he says.

Baille 10 years, 4 months ago

There you go, Smitty. PD admittedly knows about the rampant drug use and yet does absolutely nothing. Sounds like a failure of leadership to me.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 4 months ago

One voice of reason. If it's so bad inside the club why hasn't there been more enforcement necessary in it? We didn't do anything because we lacked backup. You don't have cellphones? We didn't want to blow our cover. What are you trying to get the dirty on? The party goers or the owner? If the problems are inside make some arrests inside. If the problems are outside (as they almost always are - except for the shots being fired) where are the reports of arrests outside? Heck, he even got blamed for a problem in KC! From what I've seen it's a witch hunt. The owner has fought the anti-smoking ban and this is a good way for the City to smack him 'round a bit. Doesn't have anything to do with problems but with payback!

flyin_squirrel 10 years, 4 months ago

Funny that they don't have enough police to arrest people doing illegal drugs, yet they have 2 to 4 police officers down at Quintons, the Wheel, the Ranch and the Hawk looking for underage college kids every weekend. Sound like our police force is avoiding the difficult issues.

If they would have busted some of these people they witnessed performing illegal activities, then our city might have a case for taking their license. Since our own city doesn't want to deal with the problem, I don't see how they can force ABC to do it.

compmd 10 years, 4 months ago

Whatchu sayin about British Literature? And you did not just dis my new coffee table book of the collected works of Monet. You wanna go? You wanna go? Its three on one boy, you versus me, Heckler, and Koch.

UKept, I agree with you. I think parents should be teaching their children about the dangers of bookstores. With all the gang activity, its a wonder there isn't more violence. I hear the scifi/fantasy aisles are rough these days.

Kat Christian 10 years, 4 months ago

I say CLOSE IT DOWN. Before someone gets hurts or killed. The place is an accident waiting to happen. Who cares about the 'sort of element' that go there or the kind of music they play the fact of the matter is the place is out of control, the people who go there are out of control and we don't want this sort of think in this town. CLOSE IT DOWN.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Let's close all the hip hop bars before somebody gets hurt or killed. On the other hand, the next time police see pot being smoked, coke being snorted, or guns being flashed they might consider arresting them.

Fatty_McButterpants 10 years, 4 months ago

Wow, whoever edited this article should be shot. I had to read many of the sentences several times just to make sense of them. Anyway...

Amazing that Steffes' attorney pulled out the race card on the first day. Steffes knows what is going on in that club. The attorney's attempts to imply that the problems that have occurred are not the club's fault is ridiculous. We don't have those problems IN THAT AREA, except for when Last Call is doing the hip-hop thang.

parsimoniousjayhawker 10 years, 4 months ago

I have spoken with several LPD officers and patrons of Last Call about this situation over the years so I feel I do have some personal insight in this matter, other than throwing slanderous opinions...(Smitty, read this..)

I would take exception to the comment that the patrol officers have not been effective in bringing this matter to light.. It was the PD patrolling the bar/parking lots, discovering numerous weapons, and making the ARRESTS that brought this situation to the forefront in the first place.

Everything I have read about Last Call (with the exception of the shooting) has resulted in the proactive rather than reactive enforcement of the laws at and around the establishment. I work down the street from Last Call and have seen first hand what the club scene is like at 3:00 am when the bar closes. The police officers (all 3 to 4 of them) do a damn good job of policing the area and moving the 200 to 300 people along to avoid any trouble from starting. As far as making arrests inside the club, there is no way I would expect any police officer to put his safety in jeopardy trying to make a simple marijuana arrest (Oh, I am sorry Boog...I meant to say write a ticket) inside a club filled with fellow gang members. That would be like adding fuel to a fire that doesnt need any more kindling. If there was a personal safety issue inside the club involving a patron or security staff member, that is a different story. To me, that just makes common sense.

I know, I know....blast me and say, "Well, it's their job to put their lives on the line." Ya, it is their job, but they are also trained in the use of common sense, which that is not. Before all of you throw stones, take a trip downtown at 3:00 am in the morning and stand outside of Last Call to see exactly what problems the officers and security staff face. I think you will have a different mind set....I know it changed my perception.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 4 months ago

"Wow, whoever edited this article should be shot." - Fatty-Mac

Whoa, now, that's why they're in front of ABC in the first place.

Cease fire!

oldgoof 10 years, 4 months ago

The city should have used nuisance laws long long ago.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Oh, I forgot. Lawrence has the Boog marijuana ordinance here in Lawrence. I wonder how much that attracks the KC and Topeka crowds? While we are closing the Last Call shall we repeal that as well?

I didn't realise that the LPD were only supposed to enforce the law when they felt safe and secure. That would explain why the gang bangers are allowed to run wild inside The Last Call and the LPD is all over Steffes. Steffess is unlikely to pop a cap in their white asses but his patrons might not be so constrained. I have to agree, it looks like the LPD and the City are a bunch of chicken droppings.

BigAl 10 years, 4 months ago

UKept posted: " But Owen said the city hadn't done enough to show those guns were linked to Last Call patrons" guess is they belong to those gun toting f***kers over at Borders.

I definitely vote this one "Post of the Day"!!!! It just sort of sums up that common sense has to come in to play at some point.

Great post!!

toefungus 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, I hope Tom Groneman calls the Governor before he rules to find out what she wants him to do.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 4 months ago

458casul wrote "...make the abc guy get told what the law is and make him accountable for his actions.Right now he answers to no one".

Which is drivel. The Director of ABC reports to--hence "answers to", the Secretary of Revenue.

MyName 10 years, 4 months ago

The owner is so full of it. If the police actually get in there quickly enough to catch the illegal activity, he would claim harassment, or say that he was being held responsible for "a few bad patrons". But if they can't get in there in time, then he would claim that he was being held responsible for activities that go on outside his bar.

I mean what seems more reasonable: that a group of people who go around carrying drugs and guns and acting like thugs will magically stop doing so when they go inside Last Call and then pick it up again when they leave. Or that they come to Last Call because they know that can get away with doing that stuff inside the bar and not get called on it by the management or arrested by the police?

Fatty_McButterpants 10 years, 4 months ago

"I didn't realise that the LPD were only supposed to enforce the law when they felt safe and secure."

While I'm sure that there are many things that you are not aware of, you should be able to figure out that the main goal of a cop is to go home at the end of the shift. Busting someone for weed, in a club full of gang bangers, does not exactly seem like a smart, safe thing to do. Imagine, if you can, that there is only about 15 officers on a midnight shift. There are 300+ people inside of Last Call. Even if the whole shift were to go in to arrest someone, for what is now, thanks to the wonderful folks at 6th & Mass., a relatively minor offense, it would not be a good idea. The hip-hop crowd ain't exactly fond of the po-po. Hip-hopsters on drugs and alcohol, throwing gang signs, and in large groups, tend to get violent if you try to arrest one of them. 300 v. 15 doesn't exactly seem like great odds, hmm?

Lori Nation 10 years, 4 months ago

Just shut the place down. Keep the violence and drugs away from our kids.

domino 10 years, 4 months ago

While so many out there are bashing the LPD, take a minute to think about these things:

An Officers Life......

You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding"

He just worked an accident where people died because they were going to fast

You wonder why that cop was so mean

He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid

You work for 8 hours

He works for up to 18 hours

You drink hot coffee to stay awake.

The cold rain in the middle of the nite keeps him awake.

You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.

He goes into work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before

You drink your coffee on your way to the mall.

He spills his as he runs code to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside

You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house.

He makes sure his guns is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight

You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.

He watches his buddy get shot at, and wounded in front of him.

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.

He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash

You complain about how hot it is.

He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in the middle of July and still runs around chasing crack heads

domino 10 years, 4 months ago

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.

He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.

You get out of bed in the morning and take your time getting ready.

He gets called out of bed at 2 am after working 12 hours and has to be into work ASAP for a traffic homicide

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.

He holds the hair of some college girl while shes puking in the back of his patrol car

You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.

His shift ended 4 hours ago and theres no end in sight

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.

He can't make any plans because on his off days he still gets called back into work

You yell and scream at the squad car that just past you because they slowed you down.

He's in the driver seat of the squad car, going to cut somebody out of their car only to find out that their dead when he gets there.

You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public

He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying

You criticize your police dept and say they're never there quick enough.

He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move while talking on their cell phone and doing their makeup.

You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better.

He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and lose's his life doing it

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.

He would take a bullet for his buddy without question

You sit there and judge him, saying that its a waste of money to have them around.

Yet as soon as you need help he is there

Starbucks - if cops are all liars, then all Irish are drunks, all Muslims are terrorists, all music since the 1920's is of the devil, anyone who ever smoked a joint is a drug adict ---- on and on and on and on! I know there are good cops and bad cops, but that is true in everything - you can't lump all groups of whatever kind into one.

Tom McCune 10 years, 4 months ago

I know nothing about Last Call. But every other time I have seen an establishment owner intentionally attract a problematic and undesirable clientele and the police were "unable" to do much about it, there was a very simple, straightforward explanation.

Steve Mechels 10 years, 4 months ago

For those of you who don't know, law enforcement officers want to go home to their families too. It is not their job to get killed in "the line of duty" contrary to popular belief. If it is not safe to make an arrest or detain someone, then it won't happen. You try going into a crowded bar with only one other person (if that) and bunch of people who already hate you because of your job/uniform and break up a fight or arrest someone. Guessing very few of you would try it or want anyone else in your family to do it.

If this is going to be an ongoing problem (which the evidence by the undercover officers indicates) then shut the place down. The owner has had plenty of opportunity to change the crowd that comes in and has refused to do so.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

I have very few problems with the LPD, in fact I am often accused of blindly supporting them. When they do their job I am a huge supporter. But when they claim to see crimes taking place and refuse to enforce the law I think I have a legitimate complaint. I also have a problem with a City that decriminalizes pot and then complains about pot being smoked in a club. I have a real concern that they will close The Last Call just to move the problem to Abe and Jakes, the Granda, or Club Axis. Is the LPD going to refuse to enforce the law there to or just have the ABC shut them down?

Once again, this isn't a problem with Steffes, The Last Call, or Hip Hop music. This is a problem with the LPD refusing to enfoce the current laws and the City of Lawrence enacting ordinances that attract law breakers, then whinning about it.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

In a town that sends two cruisers to stop a speeding car driven by a person of color I can understand their unwillingness to attempt an arrest single handed in any club. As I recall the LPD has radio's they can use to call for backup. If the LPD surrenders to the patrons of the Last Call what keeps those patrons from moving down the street? The signal the LPD is sending loud and clear is, "We arrest only the weak or compliant. Stand up to us and we will leave you alone."

Lawrence, your problems have just begun and are bound to get much worse.

oldgoof 10 years, 4 months ago

I wished the hearings were televised. It would be funny to watch the club try to defend itself.

Lori Nation 10 years, 4 months ago

Nobody is forcing kids up there. But it sounds like a lot of gang bangers and they are one of the first groupies to start something. But if I wanted to walk around downtown with my kids I certainly don't want them being shot at by losers that are wasting their life away.


effbombs 10 years, 4 months ago

last call isn't going anywhere. there wouldn't even be an issue if we had cops with half a back bone. the security/bouncers at last call have more balls than our cops. the security at last call is actually legit...i feel more comfortable inside with them than outside with the lpd. when it comes down to it these 'patrons' arent sh@t without their guns so inside would be the place to make arrests if the cops were smart. its outside with their guns that they get all their courage.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

I doubt anyone here is stupid enough to agree to walk your kids downtown at 3AM, unless your kids are 18 years old, moron.

effbombs 10 years, 4 months ago

who wants to walk their kids anywhere at 3am?!? are you kidding me?! wouldnt be smart to walk by any bar letting out at 2am or 3am with your children. doesn't matter if that bar was full of college kids, old stiffs or gang bangers...drunk people are stupid. period.

Doug Fisher 10 years, 4 months ago

This place is ruining the character and charm of downtown. Please get rid of it.

Emily Hadley 10 years, 4 months ago

I was pretty fired up about this, but holy crud, the anger in the little sample of the comments that I skimmed made both my reaction and this whole administrative assault seem tame.

I am amazed how anonymous posters drop names and sling so much mud. It's already hard to trust anything you read or hear; to me, that little dichotomy generally just calls for dismissal. Maybe that's just me.

estespark 10 years, 4 months ago

Sigmund makes a great point.

"We arrest only the weak or compliant. Stand up to us and we will leave you alone."

The law needs to be enforced before every "legacy" establishment in downtown is run out of business by imported thugs.

I don't think it's too much to expect that laws be enforced.

estespark 10 years, 4 months ago

Is that why it's called Law Enforcement?

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

I don't understand, undercover cops are complaining about cigars filled with pot as a justification to close down the Last Call but really support legalization? Is that why they are failing to enforce the law? The City of Lawrence should be welcoming the pot smoking gang bangers from KC not trying to close the place down. Or do Lawrencians only support white college kids and hippies smoking pot and not black kids from more urban back grounds? I place the odds at better than 50/50 that when and if pot does get legalized Lawrence will be the first City to ban smoking it in the bars!

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 4 months ago

Why is Lawrence bringing in the ABC? They can revoke the city liquor license if they want. I don't get it.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

They are bringing in the ABC because there is no legal justification for the city to close down The Last Call. It is kind of hard for a City that passed a ordinance with reduced penalties for pot to, with a straight face, complain about pot smoking by black youth in Hip Hop clubs. It makes them look like what they are, closet racists. While all the time preaching "diversity" and "open mindedness" yet Merrill & Co. scream bloody murder when a black family moves into their neighborhood.

Do you see Merrill complaining about pot smoking and drug use at the Waka-waka-waka Fest? Nope, those are white college kids and hippies. Black kids smoke pot listening to Hip-Hop downtown and the y must be stopped!

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Oh and the "safety" issue is bogus as well. No one has been shot or killed at the Last Call which can't be said for at least three other bars in Lawrence. Lets not forget there was a death at the Waka-waka-waka Fest a couple of years ago as well. The only thing that explains the vendetta against Steffes is racism, pure and simple.

George_Braziller 10 years, 4 months ago

Uhhh . . . "starbucks" as a neighbor to "Last Call" I can tell you that it is happening because I live through it every weekend. There have been arrests made --- LOTS. Do your research before you post.

"starbucks (Anonymous) says: If this stuff was really happening, arrests would have been made. Police are nothing but liars."

George_Braziller 10 years, 4 months ago

Here's a sample of the activity at Last Call -

How can anyone say that it shouldn't be shut down?

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

I am saying that the LPD has done a great job confiscating guns and Steffes has taken action to keep patrons from bringing weapons into the club. No one has been injured inside his club and gun injuries and death have played a larger part in the Granada's, Brother's, and even Henry T's past. Yet no calls from Merrill Lynches & Co. to close those clubs. More drug use and arrests at the Waka-waka-waka Fest than at The Last Call (and more death and injury as well), yet Merrill Lynches & Co. praises festivals as the new economic gold mind! It doesn't take a geography major to understand that denial just ain't a river in Egypt and that white kids and hippies are welcome to do drugs in Lawrence, but not blacks kids and Hip Hop fans.

It is time to call a spade a spade, Merrill Lynches & Co are closet liberal racists who loudly proclaim their open mindedness until a black club opens in their town. Olin and the LPD are going into the tank (we saw crimes and drugs but were powerless to stop it, gee Law Enforcement is so darn hard) in hopes that they can hoodwink the ABC into doing their dirty work for them all the time hoping that nobody notices they passed a City ordinance to reduce the penalties for smoking pot in Lawrence.

It's a disgusting charade, really.

a2thek 10 years, 4 months ago

Their might be some out of towners that go to that place but most of them are wanna be gangbanger thugs that do know anything about being in a gang. It's just a matter of time before someone does get shot and killed. But let me name a few incidents involving just as much violence in Lawrence involving either guns or incidents. One Granada shooting-fatality, two Brothers shooting that didnt kill anyone but injured a few guys, and just within the last few weeks there was a shooting at Allstars which injured an innocent bystander who got shot in the leg. So are all these incidents really brought on by hip-hop. I think the only thing they all have in common is that they are nightclubs that let anybody in and they serve alcohol. So maybe you should take all their liqour licences away and we can get back to making downtown Lawrence a better place to take a romantic nightly walk. The most I see is the block that the Granada is in always having fights break out inside and spill out into the streets and about twenty cops out in the front of it. So is the problem really last call or do we have some stereotypic people that see blacks going their and are in fear of their lives.

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 4 months ago

I have been hearin gthe same thing over and over. The cops need to take care of the problem. If I read it correctly, Sgt Ward quoted in this story noted the staff of the club have assisted in obstructing the police prior to their entry when trying to make cases on patrons and the club. Undercover officers have noted weed being openly smoked and blunts made in full view of staff. If as some have said Steffes staff is so bad a$$ and trying to help...why are they not confronting the patrons, seizing the evidence, calling the police and escorting them outside to the waiting arms of the police they are trying so hard to "cooperate with."

I don't know about you but if I was the one or two undercover cops inside seeing what was going on and said I need to arrest him in the middle of 300+ gang banger types who may or may not thump them when they try to make the arrest. On one of the other threads that talked about FBI stats on crime I looked up the most common weapons used to commit assaults on cops were hands and feet. Thats a lot of hands and feet smacking you. And I have seen enough UFC fights to know hands, feet, knees elbows can cause a lot of damage. I personally did not like being the last one or two guys on one side in dodge ball facing a full team loaded with ammo. I don't know how I would feel in this situation.

jonas 10 years, 4 months ago

"Officer Anthony Morgan of the Mission Police Department said he had never seen drug use so prevalent in any bar."

Never trust a Johnson Country cop unless you're looking them in the eye. And be wary then.

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 4 months ago

It is scary no one trusts the police. If there is video in the club why didn't they offer it to the police when they handed over all these illegal drug users to aid in the prosecution of the few "bad apples" who tarnish Last Calls name. The problem is no one wants to truly admit they have someone using the system to get away with crime.

Either the employees are ignorant (but this can't be the case since everyone says they are doing a much better job than the police) or they sympathetic to illegal activity.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Smoking pot is merely a violation of an ordinance in Lawrence. So now we are to believe it is a huge problem? If so then repeal the marijuana ordinance for both black and white kids.

Sorry, this doesn't pass the laugh or the smell test. No one is asking the cops to make arrests single handedly, that is why we bought them radio's and cell phones. If security obstructs the police, arrest them too. This isn't about drugs, its about black kids listening to Hip Hop. So now all it takes is for a police officer to allege and but not prove a darn thing and the ABC closes a club?

Godot 10 years, 4 months ago

Not stopping patrons from smoking marijuana is clearly just a technical violation in Lawrence, and we all know how technical violations are viewed by the AG.

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 4 months ago


I think you hit on the main reason this has gotten so out of hand, officers "alleging" is not enough, the employees and owner of the club are not enforcing any anything in the club or cooperate with the police basically nothing can be done and what is going on now is a last ditch effort to solve the problem.

Here is my question if the officers are not allowed to enter in a timely fashion how do they know a crime has been commited to obstruct. Without video from the club and these undercovers testimony from inside the club...all you have is the violations onthe outside inthe borders parking lot.

I have been in other clubs down town where people were smoking more than a cig and they were either kicked out one the spot or the weed was taken by staff and disposed of. Other times people were held for the police to come by staff. I have even seen people who carried their own beer into the Hawk get thrown out on the spot after a bouncer noticed the guy had a beer in a type of container they did not serve out of...that is observant. If the Last Call staff enforced a no weed policy they would not bring it in and smoke.

Godot 10 years, 4 months ago

What will the City do if Last Call shuts down and another enterprising individual sees a market opportunity and opens a club catering to the same clientele that frequented Last Call? Will the City shut that club down, and the next, and the next???

Not that it is likely to happen, but what if Last Call changed to a folk music venue, featuring cloggers on Saturday night? Would he get his liquor license back?

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Here is the flaw in your logic, Steffes and his staff can not prevent the police from entering whenever they wish nor confiscating evidence (video tapes, blunts, etc.). The first security guard that places a hand on a cop gets arrested for battery on a LEO on the spot. The LPD are not so impotent, as you and Merrill would have us believe. If the police can't prove there is a problem, is there a problem or are the cops over exaggerating the problem? Finally, if there is really a pot problem in Lawrence, repeal the City Ordinance and start filing criminal charges in Douglas County Court.

Doesn't it strike you a little odd that the only Hip Hop club frequented by black kids are being targeted and only pot smoking by black kids seems to be such a huge problem? I've been in a lot of bars in Lawrence and I have never seen a bar owner stop a single person from smoking joint or even a cigarette inside their premises, let alone stop frat boys and sorority girls from snorting coke in the bathroom.

You are pretending (for whatever reason) that the only drug problem is at the Last Call and ignoring the fact that the only gun injuries or deaths in Lawrence bars were completely unrelated to the Last Call and Steffes.

Why is that?

denak 10 years, 4 months ago

"... Black kids smoke pot listening to Hip-Hop downtown and the y must be stopped!.."

Comments like the above are a bunch of b.s. This isn't a about black kids who just want to listen to hip-hop music.

This is about gangs. I moved from Southern California to get away from crap like this. Gang bangers don't give a crap about who gets hurt as long as they can show who is tougher.

And who is crazy enough to allow Crips and Bloods or any rival gangs into the same club and not think that something violent isn't going to happen. They are either extradinarily naive or they are getting money from the gangs or from the drug sales.

They need to close this place down. If this clientale was so peaceful, they wouldn't be carrying an M-16. What the h**l do you need a M-16 for. If you aren't in the military, you don't need a M-16. There isn't anything peaceful or benign about anyone who is carrying that type of weaponary.

The police need to be a lot more aggressive and a lot less concerned about what some people think and not be put off by those who are trying to catagorize this as a racial thing. This isn't a race thing. This is a type of criminal behavior that, if left uncheck, is going to seriously effect the safety of the entire population and if you think that statement is ridiculous look at what gangs have done in other middle class neighborhoods in this country.

Shut this place down. He knows what is going on and he is repsonsible for what is happening in the parking lot and his club and if he doesn't, he and his clientale should all be carted off to prison because I am sure that the majority of them have some kind of criminal history.


a2thek 10 years, 4 months ago

I dont get it. You mean to tell me that two undercover officers from the Mission Pd had to do the LPD's job. What's wrong with the LPD's undercover, has it been blown? Also why if they witnessed all these illegal activities at the club why couldnt they immediately contact LPD and have them rush the place and make arrest. Something is not right here. Either Dennis Steffes doesnt want things to go wrong at his place or someone is protecting someone else. I do know in one of the previous statements about Dennis's staff on why they are not throwing kids out for blunt and smoking inside the place is because if I read write one of the bartenders was snorting cocaine. So could he throw a kid out for smoking a little weed when he was doing a much more hard drug. I dont care how many bouncers he has but if you saw 25-50 blacks kids all throwing up the "b" sign or "c" sign would you approach them and try and throw them out. Probably not especially being that is Mr Steffes clientell and he doesnt want to hurt his business. Okay this all now makes sense. Also the city cannot do anything becasue you have Mrs Hack whose mind I am sure is on other things at this point in time. LOL

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 4 months ago

OBviously the under cover said there was a very open use of drugs. There are ways to obstruct the investigation of an officer besides holding them which they are not stupid enough to do...such as make the entry way a maze that someone has to go through layers of people before they actually get to the main doorman once you get through the main door. Apparently you have not seen the lines at most bars on a Thursday Friday and Saturday night at most downtown bars and clubs. Have a doorman watching the sidewalk in front the the club with one of those cool head set who notifies the rest of the staff via radio or cell that a series of cops are trying to get through the crowd into the out the alarm...ditch the weed and coke.

I have given enough examples of other clubs being responsible. I can't help you have either limited experience withthe Lawrence Area Club scene or only hang out in a couple of places. They are very cooperative with the cops and in many cases friendly enough to have an entrance where the police can make and easy entrance to take care of problems.

I am not saying the cops are not doing their job, I am saying they are but they can not prove everything to the level of reasonable doubt required for all the nay sayers in Lawrence. I am alos saying the staff and club are part of the main problem of the police not getting evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Dena, will you be calling for the repeal of Lawrence's marijuana ordinance and for the criminal prosecution of all kids of all colors for smoking pot? Will you also be demanding that the Granada, Brothers, Henry T's, and All Stars be closed because of the gun injuries and death outside those bars? Can you name a single incident where a single person was injured inside or on the street outside of The Last Call by a gun? Can you prove that Steffes is receiving drug payoffs? Are all bar owners to be held accountable for what happens in the street or in public parking lots under your regime? Do the police get a pass on proof only for black kids and Hip Hop venues? When was the last time you saw a "Blood" or a "Crip" and what colors were they wearing?

Finally, and most revealing of all, do your special rules apply only to Hip Hop venues and black kids, or do propose that all bars and white kids be subjected to your lower standards of proof?

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Gee Steffes and his staff are master criminals who can avoid prosecution with a headset! Who knew? Don;'t let out the secret cause before you know it they all will have headsets. And if you haven't smelled pot in other bars and on the street outside of those bars, or the frat boys and sorority girls running off to the restrooms every five minutes to do coke, you haven't been to the bars I frequent downtown. And in case you don't get it, I am not so much defending Steffes as demanding the rules be the same for ALL bars and clubs in Lawrence. Until you Dena and Merrill Lynches & Co demand the same standards for all bars and owners, I just can't take you all seriously.

laika 10 years, 4 months ago

is it illegal to be a member of a gang? Nope, didn't think so. Is it illegal to make some arbitrary "gang' sign? Again, I highly doubt it. Maybe it's not the most savory thing, but if cops/lawyers were to run around and arrest/prosecute everyone who didn't like them a workable system you would not have. You can't close a place down because certain people hang out there. I agree, pursue prosecutable offenses, that's what they are there for, but the legal system has no place determining the merits of anyone who goes to Last Call or closing it down because some people simply feel bad about it. If so many people in the community feel so strongly about this club, why not obtain a permit to hold a protest in front of the club?

Godot 10 years, 4 months ago

Time for an executive session of the city commission, no minutes or notes allowed (they might get into the wrong hands) at which the esteemed commissioners determine that they will condemn the building of Last Call and take it by eminent domain in order to sell it, at a very deep discount, to Harris or Fritzel or Compton to develop into an art gallery so as to rid the Hobbs Taylor citizens of the bar's offensive clientele.

Better watch the consent agenda very closely in the next few months.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 4 months ago

Why doesn't he take his club out in the middle of nowhere, perhaps somewhere west of Topeka? He wants it here in Lawrence, because he wants to ruin downtown. He is still angry about the no smoking ordinance, and is getting his revenge. I don't care how safe the inside of the club is, we don't need these people coming to town with their illegal guns and attitudes. Let them stay home if they can't behave in public. That goes for everyone, hip hop fan or KU student.

Bob Forer 10 years, 4 months ago

I am sick a tired of the politically correct so-called "progressives" defending Mr. Steffes' money grab in the name of "diversity" and accusing the opponents of Last Call as "racists." Mr. Steffes doesn't give a damn about public safety or racial diversity. It all a matter of bucks--the big bucks which the out-of-town thugs and scoff laws stuff in his pockets when they travel to Lawrence for "hip hop" night.

To you ignorant "progressives" crying for diversity, how would you feel if Steffes had a regular "skin head" night which brought real live neo-Nazis into town to booze, drug, and terrorize random Lawrencians.

As a child of the civil rights movement, I can assure you there is nothing progressive about gangster rap. It's a Nihilistic culture consisting mostly of base and senseless violence, and when its drama plays out in the streets with innocent victims of drive by shootings, its minimal culture value is rendered valueless.

effbombs 10 years, 4 months ago

a2thek - it never says that the bartender was snorting coke. it says a white powder substance. the officer did no investigation so you can't even tell you what it really was only what he suspects...all i can say is if he had done some actual 'police work' and investigated his as$ would be looking real stupid.

effbombs 10 years, 4 months ago

also i think it's amusing that they have not included in this article or in the paper at all that the cops have entered the club trying to find something wrong but they never can...they cant find an underage drinker, any drug use, or anyone in possession of a weapon of any sort. two weeks ago 15 uniformed cops entered and nothing. they have tried and tried to find something wrong with the way the inside of this club is run and nothing. i guess innocent until proven guilty only applies to stupid drunk college kids.

hipgrrrrl 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, it seems to me that all pot smokin' at Last Call should be encouraged if not downright required. Wouldn't it up the revenue of nearby restaurants and likely cut back on aggression exhibited both inside and outside of the club?

Of course, I did have a boyfriend that got all paranoid when he smoked weed, so perhaps it wouldn't solve ALL the problems :).

denak 10 years, 4 months ago

To answer your question Sigmund, yes, I do hold every club to the same standard. If the police have evidence of blantant drug use, criminal activity and gang activity, then those who are breaking the law should be arrested and if it is can be proven that the owner of the establishment knows about this criminal activity and is ignoring it for whatever reason, then he too should be held accountable.

I don't care what club it is and I don't care what color the clientale is and I don't care what type of music is played in that club.

In your misguided zeal to try to paint me as racist, you forget one simple fact, the victim of any crime at Last Call will, more than likely be black. So, if one day someone is killed or shot or whatever, I want you to go to the hospital and I want you to look into the face of those crying parents and I want you to say, "hey you know what, I really wasn't all that concerned about your child and the possibility that he would get hurt, I just wanted to accuse people of being racist. Sorry he is going to be paralyzed or pissing in a bag for the rest of his life."

As for Mr. Steffes, he knows what is going on and the only reason any club owner would take that kind of risk (mixing rival gangs) is if there is some kind of financial incentive in it for him. I stand by my statement, he is probably getting some kind of kickback.


Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

Dena- You answered not one of my questions so I will ask once again:

  1. Will you be calling for the repeal of Lawrence's marijuana ordinance and for the criminal prosecution of all kids of all colors for smoking pot?

  2. Will you also be demanding that the Granada, Brothers, Henry T's, and All Stars be closed because of the gun injuries and death outside those bars?

  3. Can you name a single incident where a single person was injured inside or on the street outside of The Last Call by a gun?

  4. Can you prove that Steffes is receiving drug payoffs?

  5. Are all bar owners to be held accountable for what happens in the street or in public parking lots under your regime?

  6. Do the police get a pass on proof only for black kids and Hip Hop venues?

  7. When was the last time you saw a "Blood" or a "Crip" and what colors were they wearing?

  8. Finally, and most revealing of all, do your special rules apply only to Hip Hop venues and black kids, or do propose that all bars and white kids be subjected to your lower standards of proof?

There is more evidence here that you are a racist than the that Steffes is getting Drug money. Face it, you brought your prejudices all the way from California to Lawrence. Why not move to Montana or Salt Lake City, I'm sure you'll feel more "at home."

Sigmund 10 years, 4 months ago

TheSychophant (Anonymous) says:"I am sick a tired of the politically correct so-called "progressives" defending Mr. Steffes' money grab in the name of "diversity" and accusing the opponents of Last Call as "racists."

Don't you feel a bit silly when you troll and no one bothers??

lawrenceofkansas 10 years, 4 months ago

Why can't the Last Call have an "All you can drink for free" night for Bloods, Crips and KKKs on the first Saturday of every month? It will be either a tranquil place to relax or the killings will thin the herd.

a2thek 10 years, 4 months ago

a2thek - it never says that the bartender was snorting coke. it says a white powder substance.

okay i stand to correct myself, i guess it could have been heroin, or table bad. my other ? is how did the cop know that it was the color white, was he standing right next to the guy or doing somr with him. Wouldnt it be a little hard to tell that it was white from a far away.

Fatty_McButterpants 10 years, 4 months ago

Geez, I didn't know we had so many experts on proper law enforcement techniques in this town! You guys are pathetic. You wouldn't have the balls to do what cops do on a daily basis, but you certainly have the balls to talk sh*t on them any chance you get. I hope you get attacked and the same people you're running your mouths about are a little...slow in responding.

denak 10 years, 4 months ago


I believe I answered all of your questions. You just don't like the answers.


Amy Heeter 10 years, 4 months ago

I wasn't going to post on this since I don't drink or go to bars,but this is one of those cans of worms situations. The city may close this bar down in time but then people will start complaining about others and the city will be expected to do the same. What are they going to do shut down all of them one by one. I keep seeing people posting about how there are so many empty buildings downtown. I'm seeing more empty buildings if this kind of thing is going to fly. I admittedly don't know alot of details on this but have seen a couple articles including the one about a shooting on I-435. I consider that one to be pushing the envelope a little bit. Gotta question why the police haven't done anything if they were inside and saw open drug use too.

a2thek 10 years, 4 months ago

I think everyone needs to rent the movie Colors. LOL

black_butterfly 10 years, 4 months ago

I wish the city would just find a legal way to shut the place down and be done with it. Then everyone would have to find something else to complain about. OF COURSE Last Call needs to be shut down immediately. But let me clarify some things that have been insinuated on many posts concerning last call.

The Last call has patrons of ALL races, not just people of color. In fact it is a very popular hangout among caucasian females. Hmmmmm wonder why? LOL

Lawrence residents do attend the Last Call, it is not just KC and Topeka people,

People of ALL races listen to Hip Hop, not just people of color.

There are many clubs in Lawrence and other cities that play hip hop music and they are not having these problems

Gangs have members of All races, not just black and hispanic ( some of you watch WAY too much tv)

Diversity is a good thing. Last call has nothing to do with the diversity in Lawrence! LOL (get a clue)

People of ALL races do drugs, it is a huge problem in this nation. (duh)

STOP with the stereotypes! STOP acting like if the Last Call is closed down then Lawrence will be free of problems. SMH


Kat Christian 10 years, 3 months ago


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