- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2013

A Northeast D.C. nightclub, shuttered after a man was stabbed there last week, has banned a go-go act because of violence at its shows, according to official reports on the incident.

Adding to the growing list of clubs in the District and Prince George’s County that refuse to host TCB, Fur will no longer book the 12-member group because of “ongoing violent issues with this band,” according to a report filed with the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

The megaclub — which can hold as many as 3,000 people — has been closed since the May 6 stabbing and its liquor license suspended pending a summary suspension hearing before the regulatory agency.

The night of the stabbing, a group of men jumped a 19-year-old man after he threw a drink on one of their friends, according to the ABRA report. The man was stabbed several times in the chest and arm during the fight, and the group was escorted out of the club, running from security before anyone realized the victim had been stabbed, the report states.

Ten Metropolitan Police Department officers and 27 private security guards were working at Fur the night of the stabbing, standing watch over nearly 300 patrons.

Fur’s general manager, Ahmed Shah, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Shah said in a letter to ABRA that “in the past 10 years we have never had an weapon inside of Fur, or any incident like this.”

“We will no longer be having the band play at Fur and [are] cancelling the Sunday party,” he said, referring to TCB’s weekly concert at the club.

The report doesn’t blame the band for the violence, but across the area police officials have been quick to draw associations between TCB and fights at local clubs — prompting a de facto ban on TCB playing in Prince George’s County.

The fact TCB will no longer be welcome back at Fur for its regular Sunday night gig was news — although not unduly surprising — to band manager Ben Adda.

“Police don’t really want us playing,” Mr. Adda said, rattling off a list of clubs past and present that stopped hosting them. “The easiest solution for you is to say the band is the problem, but that isn’t going to solve something.” The Scene, a club housed in Northeast D.C.’s gritty warehouse district, stopped hosting TCB in 2010 after a stabbing that happened more than an hour after the end of a show and at least several blocks from the club, the Washington City Paper reported at the time.

“I believe we’ve asked you to terminate your contractual relationship with TCB and Polo and the Boyz,” Alcohol Beverage Control Board member Nick Alberti was quoted as saying in the 2010 article.

In addition to the Scene, the now-closed D.C. Star, Mirrors and Venus Lounge all also banned TCB in the recent past, Mr. Adda said.

“They get pressed by the ABC Board and police,” he said.

The Metropolitan Police Department says the onus is on the clubs to keep events safe.

The department “doesn’t dictate on the entertainment a club hosts,” wrote Assistant Chief Diane Groomes in an email. “It is upon the venue to hold a safe event and be responsible for such.”

In Prince George’s County, police took a more proactive stance when they approached a group of club owners in the county in 2009 and asked them to stop booking TCB, police spokesman Lt. William Alexander said.

“It was not an edict. If they have played, it’s not like they have violated something. It was more like a gentlemen’s agreement,” Lt. Alexander said. “Everyone seemed to realize that TCB seemed to be a magnet for violence.”

County police have over the years regularly — and the band contends at times mistakenly — named TCB after outbreaks of violence. They have in the past said the band attracts members of rival neighborhood crews and gangs who get into fights when asked to call out their affiliations during concerts.

Mr. Adda says the band has never had a problem when it has played private events, such as at local high schools or colleges, nor at its weekly gig at the Icon nightclub in Waldorf, Md.

“It’s more proactive in terms of trying to prevent a situation,” Mr. Adda said of Icon.

Fights and fatal attacks can happen at any club, but the incidents seem to garner an unfair amount of scrutiny when go-go is center stage, said politically active go-go promoter Ron Moten. By banning go-go bands, the District is losing out on a piece of its homegrown culture and the diversity that includes, he said.

“Often when something happens at a club the first thing they do is blame the band,” Mr. Moten said. “That’s not to say the band isn’t responsible sometimes, but is that something you blame on the band or the club or the rest of society?”

The stabbing was the second time in two months that Fur has come under scrutiny after an outbreak of violence. In March, a drive-by shooting injured 13 people outside of an affordable housing complex on North Capitol Street, about two blocks from Fur. Several of the victims and at least one of the shooters were patrons of Fur that night, but investigators never directly linked the shooting to anything that occurred inside the club, and it was not closed.

This is the fourth time the club has been closed, noted D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat who represents the area where the club is located.

The closure forced management to move a Saturday concert to neighboring club Ibiza, though a notice on Fur’s website said the move was “due to amount of the tickets sold for this event.”