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A private security company, KC Patrol and Protection, replaced the off-duty deputies. This arrangement lasted three months. Scott Dennis, a KC Patrol officer, testified at the hearing that fights were common inside the club on Friday and Saturday nights. Dennis said an Xpressions bouncer named Josh liked to take unruly patrons by the throat when he escorted them out of the building. The bouncer's manner was so agressive, Dennis said, that he and his co-workers worried that a roughly treated patron might retaliate and they would get caught in the crossfire. Dennis said he tried to advise Josh: "If nothing else, go home and watch the movie Road House."
The club, meanwhile, continued to require police intervention. Xpressions produced 25 disturbance calls in the first six months of this year, according to Deborah Randol, a Kansas City police sergeant who testified at the hearing.
Randol said Xpressions has occupied her and her officers' time like no other establishment in her patrol area. On February 12, Randol arrested a woman who became belligerent at the club. The following night, an intoxicated man who had left the club started fighting with police after being told not to loiter in the middle of the street.
On March 20, a boyfriend-girlfriend situation, which had originated at the club, ended in bloodshed. Police say Kendrick Anderson, 21, got in his car and followed two men men he saw talking to his significant other outside Xpressions at closing time. An occupant in Anderson's car shot at Stephen Lee Anthony Jackson's car when the vehicles reached Eighth Street and Charlotte. Jackson died at the scene. His passenger was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. Prosecutors charged Anderson with second-degree murder.
After the drive-by, Majors, who had met with the Unions again in late January, this time to talk about the club's rocky relaunch, was ready to pull the plug. He notified the Unions that they had violated the terms of their probation.
For Majors, probation was a relatively new tool. In 2009, the City Council passed an ordinance that placed all new liquor licensees under a six-month probationary period. The ordinance stipulates that bars failing to prevent or suppress disorder (or committing other violations of the liquor code) must get the consent of their neighbors to continue serving drinks.
Once notified of the probation violation, the Unions hired a public-relations professional, Carrie Stapleton. But no communications specialist could salvage the venue's relationship with its neighbors. One neighboring property owner was so determined to see Xpressions close that he called the club's liquor distributors and gave them a hard time.
Neighborhood consent was a lost cause. So the Unions explored other options.
In early May, their attorney, Gregory Vleisides, filed a lawsuit against Majors in an effort to keep Xpressions operating without city interference. The suit alleged that the Unions, who are black, were victims of racial discrimination. The suit noted that Hedgepath, who is white, had drawn fines and suspensions. The Unions, meanwhile, faced the regulatory equivalent of the death penalty.
In its answer to the suit, the city denied that the Unions were targets of discrimination. The point became moot when a judge ruled that Xpressions' license was not in imminent danger, and the suit was dismissed.