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Venue closing sparks outrage

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Time: 11:23 AM

Since the News-Times account on what happened is shotty (at best), and reporting from yours truly has decreased due to health issues, here's a cross post from the Mericual regarding what happened at the Heirloom Arts Theatre.

HEIRLOOM ARTS THEATRE, an all-ages independent music venue located in downtown Danbury, Connecticut, is closed until further notice following a police raid that took place on Saturday night.

The venue was holding a hip hop and graffiti art show when police entered the venue to inspect reports of alcohol sales. According to Zoning Enforcement Officer Sean Hearty, the building, located at 155 Main Street, has been zoned as an entertainment center since 2001 and cannot legally sell alcohol. The inspection, which was a joint effort between the police and the Mayor's office, showed the venue was selling alcohol with a caterer's permit and was subsequently shut down by police, Hearty said.

UPDATE, 6:12pm: Hearty called to say that the inspection was a joint effort between the police and the Zoning Department, not the Mayor's Office.

Hearty could not confirm that underage drinking was also taking place at the venue. Calls to the Danbury Police Department for comment were not returned, and police reports about the incident were not available this afternoon.

Hearty explained that the Heirloom's zoning permit has been revoked and a hearing will take place to determine the venue's future.

"At the very least there will be a temporary suspension [of their permit]," he said in a phone interview.

The raid at Heirloom, which has been open since 2008, came just weeks after the Mayor proposed a new license to the Danbury Main Street Partnership that would allow night clubs and bars exactly like Heirloom to open downtown this coming fall. Currently, new bars can only open as accessories to restaurants, so there is no way for Heirloom to serve alcohol and abide by the downtown area's zoning regulations.

When asked if Heirloom's case might be considered in a different light now that a new entertainment license is on the table for downtown Danbury, Hearty said probably not.

"No, there's no grey area here," he said. "It's not like it's a restaurant also being run as a night club. I don't perceive an impact, but that's the Mayor's call."

Staff from Heirloom did not return calls for comment.

UPDATE, 6:55pm: Heirloom Arts Theatre stated that the venue is anxious to meet with Zoning, fulfull any needed requirements and reopen for business.

This story has sparked outrage online with many people accusing the mayor as the master mind behind the raid.


posted by ctblogger at 11:23 AM | Permalink|


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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint

Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park

trans_button Santos Family Story
VIDEO: Tereza Pereira's ordeal with ICE agents

VIDEO: Danbury Peace Coalition Immigration Forum (April 2006)
featuring Mayor Boughton and Immigration attorney Philip Berns

VIDEO: 2007 Stop the Raids immigration forum at WCSU

2007: Community protest anti-immigration forum

A tribute to Hispanic Center Director and immigrant activist Maria Cinta Lowe

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Danbury Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

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