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Arlington Cracks Down on Late-Night Party Spots

Owners claim police harassment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some business owners say Arlington has unfairly targeted them in a push to clean things up before the Super Bowl. (Published Friday, Jan 28, 2011)

    Some late-night business owners in Arlington claim the city has unfairly targeted them in a push to clean things up before the Super Bowl.

    City officials declined comment because at least two cases have ended up in court but said in general they only crack down on businesses with a troubled history.

    Businesses Say Arlington Unfairly Harassing Them

    [DFW] Businesses Say Arlington Unfairly Harassing Them
    Some business owners say Arlington has unfairly targeted them in a push to clean things up before the Super Bowl. (Published Friday, Jan 28, 2011)

    Ken Agnew, owner of The Next Level barber shop on Abrams Street, rented out an adjoining 5,000 square-foot room for private parties until last year.

    “I did high school parties, comedy shows, poetry,” he said.

    But he closed in May after police harassed him by parking patrol cars in front of his business on weekends for seven straight months, he said.

    "They just sat there for four hours a night,” Agnew said.

    YouTube video shows a large police RV parked nearby shining bright lights on the parking lot.

    An officer is heard saying, “If they're not doing anything wrong, they shouldn't have a problem with us."

    Agnew said the police presence made his customers think the area was a crime scene. Since he closed in May, the city revoked his business license.

    Monroe Compton, landlord of D'Mixx bar on Pioneer Parkway, claimed police and city officials are trying to run him out of business, too.

    He was arrested three times in three days in November for opening his business without a city permit.

    "It's not the most pleasant thing,” he said. “It's embarrassing. But as a businessman I felt like I had a right to be here."

    Compton said he thought his paperwork was in order but that Arlington officials told him he never got a license to operate when he opened 11 years ago.

    "I can understand they want to clean up the city,” Compton said. “But I think it has a lot to do with the Super Bowl."

    In a memo, Arlington police chief Theron Bolton accused The Next Level of operating an illegal late-night club.

    “The Next Level opens at 2 a.m. and seems to be an after-hours club for patrons at a neighboring sexually oriented business,” Bolton told a city official. “The management, staff and dancers from Peep-N-Toms regularly staff and manage Next Level. Amplified music begins around 2 a.m. and continues until Next Level closes, which is usually around 5 a.m."

    Agnew denied that he operated a club but acknowledged people from the strip club next door attended private late-night parties there.

    "If it's legal for them to be at work, they want to have their party after they get off work, so that opens a great opportunity to rent out a facility," he said.

    Managers at Peep-N-Toms declined to comment.

    Agnew said he will continue to fight City Hall to get his license reinstated.

    Compton has now reopened D'Mixx under a temporary permit that is valid until March.

    He said he hopes to work out a permanent resolution with city officials.

    "I did everything I was asked to do 11 years ago, and I'm doing everything they're asking me to do today," he said.