DOWNTOWN VIOLENCE: ABC Commission shuts down Rhino Club (summary suspension documents attached)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Submitted: Wed, 01/26/2011 - 7:41pm
Updated: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 8:56pm

RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) – The NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has issued a "Last Call" summary suspension of the alcohol permits held by Rhino Club 125, Market Street, Wilmington. Sworn affidavits of law enforcement officers describe a pattern of behavior at the Wilmington club that culminated in a fatal stabbing early Monday morning. The recent fatality and past history, including notice to the property owner from the New Hanover District Attorney that the business operated as a nuisance, was recapped in sworn law enforcement statements to the ABC Commission.

"Violence that takes a life and that is part of a demonstrated pattern of violence at a single location prompts quick action by the ABC Commission to suspend alcohol permits immediately," said ABC Chairman Jon Williams, who signed the orders suspending the alcohol permits held by the business.

The summary suspension imposes an immediate suspension of alcohol permits. The action was requested by the Wilmington Police Department and the state’s division of Alcohol Law Enforcement. It is authorized under NC General Statute 150B-3(c), which directs the Commission to begin proceedings on the matter with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

"Our work is not yet done. This is only one of several establishments with a documented history of criminal activity. Today’s action demonstrates the strength of our ongoing work with the ABC Commission and ALE," said Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous.

In April 2010, the State ABC Commission announced Last Call – a cooperative initiative with local law enforcement and ALE — that streamlines the process for suspending alcohol permits of violent bars and clubs. This is the second Last Call summary suspension of 2011 and the 11th issued since October 2009 by the state ABC Commission.

"ALE and the ABC Commission are working together effectively with local law enforcement agencies across the state to address problems of violence," said ALE Director John Ledford.

View the Rhino_Club_Order_of_Summary_Suspension

View the ABC_Commission_Summary_Suspension_Wilmington


  • Guest1 says:

    This is a good first step. Thug club will finally close because it can’t sell alcohol, which is the primary thing people go to clubs for. It won’t stop the problem, however. The thugs will just go to other, more respectable bars and cause havoc there. Until we get the thugs off the streets, it will always be an issue.

  • Guest says:

    It blows my mind how oblivious everyone one is being. I, like everyone else was under the impression that the fight started in and outside of the Rhino Club, but after talking to my friends who were dt, I got the real facts. Apparently, the Rhino was already closed and everyone was walking to their cars. The fight started while they were at Slice of Life waiting for pizza. And the stabbing happened in the parking lot next to Slice of Life. My friends said that everyone had come from the Rhino, but when it let out, there was no fight. In fact, in the 6 years I lived Downtown, most of the fights I did see, happened in front of Slice. That’s what happens when thousands of people bottleneck themselves to one location and fight for a slice of pizza at 2:00 AM. The fact is, Wilmington PD are afraid of black people. They can say they’re not and some may not be, but as a whole, they very much are. This became more obvious when the Chief of Police stated that they can not breakup a fight till it happens. WHAT!? It’s called taking preventive measures, and it’s clear that the WPD do not believe in Preventive Measures. I would never call out an agency hired to protect me, but I have to say something when I have been watching fights happen in front of police for years while they do nothing. I hate the fact that its a White/Black thing, but it is. Everyone trying to deny it’s not a race issue, saying it’s a “thug” issue is a bunch of bull. Wilmington has tried to shut down EVERY black club that has existed in Wilmington. If these instances were to happen inside the club, then the club would be dangerous, but when it happens in the streets that the Police are hired to protect. COPS Fault. They were there. They could have stopped the fight before it happened, but they were to scared to get involved until the fight broke out and they were forced to step in. The chief says they’re not allowed to, that’s BS. They dropped the ball on this one.

    PS: 10 police downtown on a weekend. That probably how many Wrightsville Beach uses and they have thousands less to look after.

  • BR says:

    Should have happened sooner. Now how about Rox? BEFORE someone else gets killed?

  • Jeff Levensailor says:

    I live downtown, I’m in my twenties, and I go out drinking and let loose almost every weekend. If you don’t think a large crowd of people can get together under one roof, get drunk, and stay out of trouble, check out Blue Post. They card people at the door every night, its always packed with drunk people, and there are never any fights!

    When I walk home I stay away from 2nd and market because of this club. One time on the way back to my apartment, my girlfriend and I stopped in to get some pizza at princess pizza on princess and 2nd (one block over) and saw a large crowd of people walking towards 2nd and market yelling. Soon after, gunshots were fired and someone was shot. (We had to hide out in the bathroom) This wasn’t the first time, and after looking online about the club, I found out someone was stabbed in the back a few weeks earlier!

    City Limits did the smart thing and hired cops to stand guard outside!

    The problem doesn’t seem to be with people consuming alcohol, but mentality of certain people. I’m not sure you can stop this, but at least now that this club is shut down, I won’t be scared walking home.

  • Ray Worrell says:

    Just to clear things up. The fight did not start at the Slice of Life. I am the owner and have the video from the 16 cameras in my store that proves this. Don’t always belive what your friends say to be facts.

  • guesty says:

    That is so sad, where will the thugs hangout now?

  • Thinking out loud says:

    Across the street to the Rox where on any given Friday or Saturday night at 2 am there are hundreds of people standing in front, blocking traffic, and harassing all that surround them. Shut this one down too.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    1 down.

  • Guest says:

    Rhino was such a great bar in the late 90’s until the thugs took over. Sad

  • Guest says:

    Great job! I’m so glad SOMEONE is taking action against this place. Hopefully it will hit this place hard in the wallet and they go bye bye!


    I am a 36 y/o black male married 17 years and with three children. I always read these blogs about the violence and other incidents that take place downtown. I will say it’s about time this has happened because people are sick and tired of going out and being worried about making it home with their lives. Everyone needs an outlet or someplace to go out and blow off some steam and just relax, but this type of club doesn’t seem to be the place. I’m not saying it’s a terrible place but my grandmother used to say that you are known by the company you keep. So if the club allows these young hooligans with no life and no responsibilities to patronize their club they deserve to be categorized along with them. I would love to take my wife out sometime and have and drink and just listen to some music but I won’t take her to a place like this where I have to worry about getting shot or fighting if I step on someone’s shoes or bump into them. Some other black people may disagree with my summation of our people but deep down they know it’s true. We aren’t all like that just like all whites are racist but there are those undesireable people in every race. I would love to see a nice jazz club or nice r&b club come to wilmington someday so the mature crowd would have somewhere to go but in my circle, we usually just sit at home or invite a few friends over for a quiet evening. This should happen with all the downtown clubs if you have people spilling out into the street at two am on the weekends drunk and disorderly. You know most of them are also driving home and putting lives at risk. I could sit and rant all day but just like the city demolished Jervay and sort of cleaned that area up they need to do the same with these disruptive clubs downtown.

  • GuestLee says:

    You sound like a very level headed, mature, and intelligent man. I applaud you, and your children will one day thank you. I only wish more men of your race would think like you do. There would be a lot less deaths and violence.

  • Anita H. says:

    I dont know if youve been here this long, but we used to have a club downtown called Gentleman Jims Jazz Club that was AWESOME.

    Ray Charles, BB King, Stanley Jordan, John Scofield, The JB’s etc used to come here and put on GREAT shows! The demand for jazz downtown disappeared around the late 80s and it closed down.

    We never had the problems then downtown like we do now…and it was very multi-racial then, maybe more so than now. It just didnt seem as “self-segregated” then as it does now.

  • KrisC says:

    Well said. When I was that age one couldn’t buy liquor by the drink. There were only small beer bars and illegal shot houses, that was it. Hormones are raging in these kids. They don’t have jobs. They make their livings in alternative ways because there is no other way to make money and survive. People want to feel important. The lifestyle is centered around turf that begets violence. Look at what’s going on in Mexico! They don’t know how to have fun without wanting to get into it with somebody. Relax, dance, listen to some great music, not your grandpa’s lifestyle these days. Too bad!

  • Guest448 says:

    Dear Mr. Holland,
    By far, the most intelligent post I have seen yet regarding this controversy. Thank you!

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Hit the club operator and the property owner where it hurts.

    To ensure another club does not open in place of the Rhino, hold the building owner’s feet to the fire.

    That’s a start; but it can not be the finish.

  • Phillyguy says:

    As a resident of the historic district, here are some suggestions.

    1. Put a cap on the number of bars that can operate in the central business district.

    2. If problems continue, place a curfew of say 11pm or midnight. (This gives the locals time to enjoy a nice dinner and drinks before the rift-raft show up)

    3. Have incentives for retail stores and small business to re-open and bring daytime traffic back downtown.

    4. Make parking free on weekends during the day to lure some of the customers that go to Mayfair, Westfield…ect

    5. Work with developers to bring in a small grocery store, maybe a dept store such as Saks, Nordstroms, and a movie theater.

    A Tall order but go to Charleston SC’s historic district sometime and use as an example of a safe active historical city.
    I would be glad to run for public office if you need help with this…I love my city and hate to see it decline.

  • 21 says:

    They need to have it were you have to be 21 and older to get in the club, ABC wake up and make that call.

  • Southernborn62 says:

    Taaron was 19, but he was wearing a armband for 21 or over. Seeing how he was high ranking gang member. Bet he was a regular.
    Its the bar/bar owners responsibility to ID and not give a arm band to someone under age.

  • resident says:

    “I only wish more men of your race would think like you do. There would be a lot less deaths and violence.”

    That statement has the sentiments of stereo-typing and over-generalization.

  • Southernborn62 says:

    I think its about time the State ABC board shut this place. Too much violence happening around the Rhino Club.
    Racism has nothing to do with why they shut it down.. Its a case of public safety. Personally I’d like to see all the gangs and hoodlums gone from Wilmington. I’m old enough to remember a downtown where a person didn’t have to worry about gangs and hoods & violence all the time.
    I commend our law enforcement; I also agree with what the Chief said on the news.
    Problem is.. if the state just gives them a little slap on the wrist;they reopen and it all gets going again. Its crazy.
    Lets get downtown Wilmington safe.

  • be careful says:

    maybe this crowd will end up on front street after Rox closes, would you like that better? Be careful what you wish for….

Leave a Reply