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ONLY ON 3: ALE investigating three Downtown Wilmington bars; "Last resort" says city attorney

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: ALE investigating three Downtown Wilmington bars; "Last Resort" says city attorney

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Three Downtown Wilmington bars are being investigated by the state. Assistant City Attorney Bill Wolak won't tell us which bars specifically, but says a nuisance abatement team investigation is a last resort and happens only when law enforcement is not effective in keeping the peace at an establishment. He also says the abatement team only investigates establishments where there have been numerous reported assaults, armed robberies, or any other crimes of violence.

The Wilmington Police Department won't confirm which bars are being investigated either, but says three that are on their radar right now include Sidebar, City Limits Saloon and the Rhino Club because of the number of filed police reports over the past few months.

ALE says it is in the early stages of investigating the Rhino Club after a stabbing there this past weekend. Wilmington Police reports show there have been at least 20 reports of violence inside and outside the Rhino Club since January 2009, including assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and theft.

The club's owner said he's not responsible for what happens outside and disputes a police report that a woman was hit over the head with a beer bottle inside over the weekend. But he refused to sit down and talk with us. Instead he claimed he's being targeted because of a predominantly African-American clientelle.

Since March 1998, four downtown bars have lost their liquor license because of nuisance abatement investigations. Wolack would not confirm which bars downtown are being investigated. The investigations will determine whether any action will be taken against the bars in Superior Court.

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Bars with Rogue Bouncers??

I understand about the police OUTSIDE the bar ... BUT WHAT ABOUT INSIDE and the action bouncers take - like maliciously attacking or targeting patrons?

There was an incident at one of the alleged bars mentioned in the article. There are 2 eye witnesses, who do not drink at all, who witnessed the entire encounter of how 3 bouncers "pounced" (literally) and then 5 more ran to THEIR aid ... all against one guy????? The results were bruises and blood and the innocent guy been physically dumped outside the club ... an ambulance ride later resulting in 10 stitches to the hand needed to work with. How do the bars get away with this?

Does anyone else have occurrences like this? It is out of control.

Why do 8 people need to restrain 1 person??? Especially when the person's only "crime" was that he was walking to the outside area to smoke and had the unlit cigarette in his mouth. The bouncers I am assuming thought he was going to light it and attacked.

closing down an

closing down an establishment is not going to fix the problem...this will only cause those people to go down the street and go to another bar and cause the same problems... these problems are not something the bar its self is causing...what more do you expect from hundreds of people from the ages of 18-30 in a small area all consuming alcohol. WPD needs to have officers posted at these "problem" bars checking ID's, there are always going to be underage drinkers and violence...comes with the territory. WPD start doing you JOB!!!!!!

Why is it?

That those people who often make comments about the supposed 'race card' are never of the race being placed under scrutiny. Maybe its because you have never been made to play that hand, therefore you do not get to reference the 'card' because it does not apply to you.

Such bars damage downtown's reputation...

Bars like the Rhino Club damage the reputation of downtown. Most of the bars and restaurants in the area are safe, respectable institutions that follow the law and do not ever seem to have a problem with their clientèle. When a bar like this continues to have such problems, everyone downtown is tarred with the same brush of suspicion. I'm not a fan of governmental interference in private business, but in this instance it is necessary. If certain institutions have become nexuses of crime and violence, then they must face the consequences. Downtown businesses and residents can not afford to tolerate this any longer.

As far as the municipal

As far as the municipal authorities are concerned in Wilmington and the beach towns, the bars are a source of revenue and the fights, cuttings, shootings, etc., just are unfortunate; can't accept that!!

Don't include Surf City

when you make those general statements. Our Police Officers are diligent in addressing any vehicle operator who appears to be under the influence.

And remember our proximity to Camp Lejuene brings hundreds of youthful miltary personnel to our towns every week-end.

They work well with the Officers from Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach, and Holly Ridge.

Drinking and Driving is something we take a dim view on.

And that is why you'll see a very active and profitable taxi service called Island Taxi here.

A few bucks in fare beats thousands in legal and insurance fees and surcharges.


What a joke ! WPD & ALE is really disappointing me lately. So they can't control something- So lets just close it. This is like saying ok there have been so many wrecks at an intersection so lets just close it. Lets not reroute the traffic at the intersection lets just close it. Here's an idea, and it would bring the city some money in (but Wilm. city dosen't need that huh?) Require these bars to have a contract police officer ther during operational hours.
Heres another idea: find a new police chief & ALE commissioner. ashamed to be a Wilmingtonian, CC

Not Surf City Tom's best

Not Surf City Tom's best comment. Why should the police have to continually deal with a bunch of drunks? The bars are creating the problem, so they should be closed as a public nuisance. If an establishment has a disturbance more than twice a month, it should be closed for 30 days.

Accountability goes with responsibility

The police are charged with enforcing the laws and maintaining order.

When they fail, you have to look at why and what needs to be done to correct the problem.

Clearly the accountability rests with the Police Chief for not developing effective deterents.

Who would you have correct the problem?

Someone or something has to begin the process.

If that's not the Police Chief who is it?

Wait for it....

wait for it....Bam! Race Card!! LOL!What a joke!

No you my friend are a joke

No you my friend are a joke and it is not a race card issue when it is truly a classification of people being placed under scrutiny. Before you go referencing the so called 'race card' see exactly what it means, because it is evident that you have no idea. And I'm out.

re: Isis

First I don't know you therefore I am not your friend. You obviously did not read the article. They clearly stated that there are 3 clubs under srutiny. 2 of 3 are predominantly WHITE clubs. One is a country western club and another is a college kids club. But you like others so quick to play your race card that you don't even look at all the facts. Or is it that you have poor reading comprehension skills because the "white man" held you back? LOL! So there we have 3 DIFFERENT classifications but only the black people cry "it's becuz we be black". LOL!

But not due to race

They are placed under scrutiny due to the fact that the clients of Rhino Club have a history of not behaving in public. It isn't because they are of one certain color, it is because they are thugs, and thugs come in all colors.

Note a Key Issue

this only happens when law enforcement is ineffective in keeping the peace.

Perhaps some good questions to ask the next time the Chief or Mayor appear on screen to take questions.

In addition to this issue and why Wilmington City Police are apparently ineffective, another good topic would be the recent study which confirmed Wilmington is more violent than Raleigh or Charlotte.

These issues should be a portion of the annual performance assessment for the Chief.

This is all a smokescreen

This is all a smokescreen from the city trying to deal with the fact the police fail to keep the public safe. Typical in 21st century America - it's not my fault, let me blame someone else. Just do your job and quit complaining about businesses that are legally operating.

Downtown bars

If a bar or club becomes a trouble spot it should be closed down, fewer trouble spots would probably mean less violent crime.

Not because of their color...

....but because your clients have a hard time behaving in public. Nice try with the race card but you fail.

apparently you've never

apparently you've never actually met Wilmington Police before. Epic Fail, wrong again guesty. This is one of the most racist towns in America.

convicts and criminals are

convicts and criminals are the ones who usually use the race card.


I've heard and some what belive that Wilmington officals want to shut down alot of downtown bars because they are worried about not getting funding for the new convention center. Think about where these problems will go if not downtown,

You are correct

You did fail, Guestsac. Again. But thanks for playing.