‘It’s a North Charleston issue’: Bistro responds to lawsuit after shooting
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Blue Note Bistro in North Charleston says in response to a recent lawsuit involving a shooting that happened at the property that their business is not the one to blame.
On the night of May 23, 2022, five people were shot in the parking lot of the club and several were left injured from broken glass.
One of the victims filed a lawsuit calling the business “negligent” for not protecting its customers.
Michael Brown, one of the co-owners and a North Charleston City Councilman, says he was inside the business when he heard gunshots coming from the parking lot. This caused the customers standing outside to get hurt. He says because the parking lot is private property that belongs to someone else, they can only do so much about the security outside.
Both Brown and his co-owner, Henry Smalls, say they have sympathy for those that were hurt.
They say the bistro uses a private security company that monitors the business whenever it’s open. Brown says they used to have North Charleston Police on the scene, but that stopped just three months before the shooting.
“North Charleston has a crime issue as a whole,” Smalls said. “So, for people to target us personally and make it seem as though it’s a Blue Note issue, it’s just a very unfortunate thing because it’s not a Blue Note issue. It’s a North Charleston issue.”
Brown says the city put a stop to the off-duty officers patrolling the scene because the police department began to get sued when things went south instead of the businesses, even if the police had nothing to do with it.
“Their whole concept is, you know, they’re not affiliated with the business,” Brown said. “But my thing is, we are taxpayers. So, we’re paying law enforcement to protect and serve the community as well as the businesses.”
Brown says he talked with Police Chief Reggie Burgess about bringing officers back to patrol the outside. Burgess says they’re reconsidering it.
The company that owns the parking lot, Dorchester Crossing, did not have a comment.
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