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Thursday, November 26, 2009

The E2 Night Club Disaster Verdict

On February 17, 2003, there was commotion and confusion at the popular Chicago Southside nightclub E2. That commotion caused a stampede and the stampeded left 21 people dead. On September 23rd of this year, a Chicago area jury found guilt and yesterday punishment was handed down. The two owners, Calvin Hollins and Dwain Kyles, each face up to two years in prison.

Cook County judge handed down prison sentences Tuesday to the former owners of a Chicago nightspot where 21 clubgoers were killed in a stampede, but some families of the dead aren’t calling it justice.

“The spotlight has been put on the owners so it can deflect away from what actually happened that night,” said Cheryl A. Rainey, whose 25-year-old niece Nicole Rainey, died in the Feb. 17, 2003, tragedy at the E2 nightclub.

The sentence stems from the owner's failure to fix an upstairs area that was flagged by inspectors the year prior.

Besides some family members decrying the verdict, the usual suspect of politicians and activists did the same, including Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson. Both of them suggested that if this were a predominantly white club, E2 was in a posh African American area, that everything would have been different.

More than one power broker has suggested that police and first responders were at fault.

There was no justice in the sentencing today, because many of us feel no death had to occur had the first responders responded differently, had they come out in rescue mode, rather than coming out for a ‘riot’ considering the number of police vs. the number of ambulances,

Police and first responders are almost always immune from prosecution in such a scenario.

The comparison to a white nightclub is difficult to make since such tragedies are rare. Still, in that same year, the Station nightclub had a massive fire caused by pyrotechnics during the course of a performance by the band Great White. That nightclub's owners, Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, later plead no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and Great White's manager, Daniel Biechele, plead guilty to similar charges. All received years in prison though all three have since been released from prison for good behavior with the blessing of the victim's families.

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