ELMNT Bar Wins Injunction, Can Reopen
60-day suspension for downtown nightclub delayed until at least March.
A prominent downtown nightclub might not be shuttered for 60 days after all.
The Common Council, on an 8-7 vote, imposed a 60-day suspension. At the center of the debate was a July 17 homicide that took place at a nearby intersection, but involved club patrons. A 24-year-old, Diamond Arberry, was killed.
The Milwaukee Police Department still has an open investigation. At a November license hearing, a department supervisor publicly revealed for the first time that the shooter was previously at the bar and never had his ID scanned.
According to a police report and social media accounts, patrons fighting inside ELMNT, 618 N. Water St., spilled out of the bar and made their way half a block south to the intersection of N. Water St. and E. Michigan St. Multiple shots were fired. At least one security guard from ELMNT was involved in what the area police captain, James Campbell, described as a “melee” and “sheer chaos.”
But Maistelman and attorney Emil Ovbiagele said the Milwaukee Police Department had officers on the scene and should have interceded earlier. The victim’s mother Lakia Thomas blames the police department, not the tavern.
ELMNT, formerly known as 618 Live on Water or The Ladybug Club, has had its license suspended for a total of 280 days going back to 2008. But in recent years it hasn’t had issues. “Except this year it basically got back to its old self,” said area Alderman Robert Bauman, who was the first to suggest the 60-day suspension.
Maistelman and attorney Vincent Bobot were successful in persuading Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Gwen Connolly to issue a restraining order, at least temporarily blocking the suspension. She ruled that Manjee’s MKE Water Street LLC met the burden of proof to proceed to trial. Assistant City Attorney Jack McNally is representing the city.
Maistelman, retained after the initial committee hearing, sought unsuccessfully on Dec. 14 before the full council to enter a video into the record. Obtained by Urban Milwaukee, the video is a cell phone recording of select portions of nightclub security camera footage.
A scheduling conference on the case is set for March 17.
For more on the homicide, nightclub and other incidents, see our Dec. 15 coverage.