By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
BIRMINGHAM – The business license for Skky, a nightclub located at Five Points South in Birmingham, was revoked by the Birmingham City Council at a regular meeting today. The revocation was issued after several incidents of violence occurred inside and outside the club, with a recent incident where a fight broke out involving multiple people, prompting a temporary closing of the building.
In September, two men were shot and injured outside of the club. The shooting was believed by police to stem from an altercation inside the building.
Two Birmingham police officers addressed the council today to urge them to revoke Skky’s license. Captain Ronald Sellers from the south precinct spoke on the fight, saying that there were no security officers to break up the fight when it happened. He said that when he began a year and a half ago he had already been receiving reports of “issues” at Skky, including some overcrowding issues.
Lt. John Green, a night shift supervisor in the south precinct, described the night where “chaos” happened. He said that he has had to assign many officers to the building because of the outbreaks of violence reported.
“With the way it promotes itself, it’s like they want crime to happen,” he said.
A video of the fight was shown on the mounted TV screens inside the council chamber. The video shows several people in an altercation, including one person attempting to use a chair to hit another. The footage was captured by dozens of witnesses using cellphones.
“I think this video speaks for itself,” said Councilor Stephen Hoyt, who has been in support of revoking Skky’s business license.
Other residents of Birmingham and Five Points, addressed the council, including Five Points Neighborhood Association Vice President Stephen Foster, who spoke at a meeting on Sept. 5 on violence occurring in the city. At that meeting, he cited the incidents at Skky.
Henry Walker, an attorney representing Skky, challenged the notion of revoking the license, saying that the shootings that occurred outside of the building have nothing to do with the club or its managers.
The Club’s owner, Dan Cooper, spoke and said that there were indeed security guards when the fight broke out. He requested that the video be played again. When it was played he pointed out several men in black shirts that he said were security guards trying to deal with the situation.
He said that security guards are required to pat down people going inside of the club and that no weapons have made their way inside since this practice was implemented. In addition to added security, he said that the management was not responsible as the building was rented to a group of young residents when the fight occurred.
Council President Valerie Abbot later said that Skky has “created an atmosphere of fear” in the Five Points neighborhood and expressed apprehension about walking through the streets. Councilor Lushunda Scales commented that the problem spans outside of the issues with Skky, saying that shutting down businesses will not help and that something must be down in the Birmingham community.
“It doesn’t matter how many police officers you have, off duty security that you have,” she said. “There are some things that you can’t even prevent, even when you try because of the mindset we have as a community. And it’s unfortunate because what’s going to happen if we keep shutting down all of these places, what happens when they start going in the streets?”
The council voted to revoke the license of Skky nightclub for violating business license laws in Birmingham.
The next Birmingham City Council will meet on Nov. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the third floor of City Hall.