Page 4 of 5
For the people who believe the security guards and believe that they've been banned from a neighborhood (streets and sidewalks included), the ban is an embarrassing, baffling hassle. But for the ones who don't believe them, or who just don't obey the ban, things often get even worse.
For many, the problem is a simple lack of communication. When partiers are banned, security guards provide no information about what businesses they're banned from or what they can do, if anything, to appeal.
Chesley Brown declined to share details about its policy with The Pitch, referring questions to Engelman. He says the names of the banned are entered into a database, and there is a matrix that suggests penalties for particular offenses. Alcohol-related assaults trigger an instant ban of 60 or 90 days, he says, "depending on the intensity of the event."
He defends the guards' use of the bans, and he says he conducted his own investigation as a result of a reporter's inquiry. "I walked up to two or three of our [security] guys right away, and I was like, 'Trespass ban, what does it mean? What do you know?' And I was actually quite surprised about how thorough they were about what they did know."
One thing is certain: They know more than the people they ban.
After he was blackballed for fighting, Caleb Calandro says he called Westport's Public Safety offices, asking to see something in writing that would explain the boundaries of his ban. "After a long time of asking, they gave me this loose boundary of 43rd Street to 39th Street and Broadway to, I think, Clark," he says. "I was like, 'I can't go to Sun Fresh, then?' They didn't give me a clear answer. They said, 'If we tell you you can't, you can't.'"
Shank says he made the same phone call to Westport's Public Safety offices and got a different answer. "Broadway to Mill Street and from the Beaumont Club to St. Luke's [Hospital]," said the person who answered the phone before hanging up on him.
Another Westport regular, who was banned for mouthing off to a guard, was confused about the terms of his ban as well. So he just steered clear. "I didn't even go during the day, to any of the shops," he says. (A local nurse, he asked not to be identified.) "I figured the police are going to listen to them [the security guards] over me anytime."
Engelman says someone who's banned from Westport should "absolutely" still be allowed to patronize retail shops and restaurants during daylight business hours, as well as Marsh's Sun Fresh grocery store.
"The intention is not for you to get thrown out of Westport when you were just going to get your cell phone checked," he says.
But once again, his calm and rationality collide messily with the stories told by the banished themselves.
When Shank returned to Westport a few days after his drunk-driving incident and found himself detained in the parking lot of Buzzard Beach, his heart sank as a KCPD officer pulled up in a squad car. The Westport guards told the cop to write Shank a citation for trespassing.
The officer wrote out a trespassing citation: "Did appear in Westport after being told not to," Shank says it read. But when Shank had his day in court last year, the prosecutors dropped the charge, municipal court records show.
After he was banned, Calandro says he ventured to the bar where he worked — then known as the Hurricane — to pick up his paycheck. He was promptly detained by Westport security, arrested by city police officers for trespassing, and banned for a full year, he says. He received a year's probation from a municipal judge.