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Police Pressure Cuts Hip Hop Acts From Nightclubs
Officials as the ACLU criticized the trend of disappearing hip hop due to police pressure.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
4/10/2006 10:17:01 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Snoop Dogg. Hip Hop, Rap and Politics.

The loud hip-hop at Moose's Beach House on Wednesday nights used to go until 2:30 a.m., but early last month the owner decided the funk needed to stop at 1 a.m.

About nine months after Clark County Sheriff Bill Young sent a letter to the Gaming Control Board in an attempt to "influence the gaming industry to not book gangsta rap acts here in Las Vegas," certain local clubs and even some Strip venues are eliminating or diluting their hip-hop programs.

"The pattern should be deeply concerning to everyone who cares about the principles of free speech," said Gary Peck, American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada executive director.

He and several hip-hop advocates fear that Las Vegas police are pressuring clubs not to play the music, or in the case of Moose's, on Maryland Parkway across from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to cut back.

After several incidents in which police were called to the club, authorities told club operators that if they continued to play hip-hop after 2 a.m. and had another violent outbreak, action would be taken against the club, said Gastinel White, whose alias is Disc Jockey N.I.N.O. He works the Wednesday night event at the club.

"If we play any more hip-hop and have any more altercations, they're going to snatch our liquor license," White said. "So that's where my boss is at, and he said, 'OK, I'm not going to even go to 2 o'clock, I'm just going to say 1 o'clock to ensure they don't take my liquor license.'"

It's common for Las Vegas police to testify at Clark County Liquor and Gaming Licensing Board hearings about the suitability of a licensee, but no liquor licenses have been revoked this year or in 2005, according to county officials.

The owner of Moose's, Joe Gormley, said Las Vegas police came by his club on several occasions this year. In January, they warned him about violence occurring at another establishment -- The Beach -- and advised him to take precautions.

Moose's bartender Paul Meyers said the club then beefed up its dress code and limited the number of customers allowed into the club.

After a fight in March at his bar on a hip-hop night, police stopped by again. Gormley said he then decided to turn off the hip-hop at 1 a.m. to play more mellow music.

He also stopped advertising the hip-hop night on KVEG-FM, 97.5 because the ads were bringing in the wrong crowd.

He said he needs to have a good relationship with the Las Vegas police and that he did not feel police discriminated against his club or threatened his business. But he said he felt compelled to take their advice to take more precautions because of the fights at his club.

"We have been known to have a couple of fights at our bar and I find when a certain age group is drinking heavily, music influences their behavior," Gormley said. "Switching off the hip-hop at 1 o'clock when everyone is just starting to go over the edge and into a heavily drunk stage, it's a good idea, and since I've done that, I've had no problems."

Las Vegas police said they did not attempt to censor the club or influence the playlist, but were in fact doing their job. Officers would be remiss if they were aware of circumstances that could lead to similar violence at other locations and did not advise business owners how to prevent those crimes from occurring, said Las Vegas Sgt. Chris Jones.

"We've had a number of shootings, near riots, large group fights, robberies and sexual assaults at The Beach, so much so that the club began using overtime officers on a regular basis," Jones said.

"We have an obligation to advise citizens and area businesses of potential issues that could jeopardize their safety," Jones said.

During the summer, a series of local shootings left four gangsta rappers dead in two months. There have been a series of shootings at nightspots like the Emergency Room and Club 702. And on Feb. 1, Las Vegas police Sgt. Henry Prendes wa

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