Local pastor asks for temporary shutdown of nightclub following 4 deaths in Peoria

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A pastor who works at Manual High School wants to temporarily shutdown Dream Night Club in Peoria after the loss of four women, all killed in a car crash.

Pastor Supt. Harvey Burnett sent a letter to Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and city council members requesting that the city administration put a “temporary moratorium” on all activities at the nightclub.

“In my opinion, it is unacceptable to simply continue with business as usual without examining policies, procedures, practices and activities in detail, that may or may not facilitate the outcomes that our community has observed,” he said.

Burnett continued he felt young Black lives were suffering the most as a result of the activities at the location.

The full letter can be read below:

Honorable Mayor Ardis & Distinguished Council,

I personally wish to thank those of you who responded to the Manual PTO’s call for help for the former Manual students who tragically lost their lives in the car accident. At this time, however, I write to express my concern and ask for your help in addressing and solving an issue that I believe is of great importance to our community.

From various reports, the young ladies who lost their lives gathered at the night club now known as The Dream at 2205 S W Washington St. While the name and management at this location have changed over the years, this address has been a hot spot of activity often leading to negative results for our youth and citizens of our community for a number of years. I, and other inspired citizens, began advocating against liquor expansion at this location in 2007 when it was named Excalibur. At that time, some 13 years ago, the location was an area of dubious activity, to say the least.

I am certainly not attempting to impugn current management or ownership of the location, however, I am clearly concerned when we have 18 and 19-year-old individuals on the premises of a licensed liquor establishment without parents, into and beyond the 4:00 AM liquor expansion time. I believe that it is in the community’s best interest to examine activity and management policy, procedure, and practice at the location, to safeguard the public.

Therefore, I am urging you to consider a temporary moratorium on activity and operation at this location to examine management policy, practice, and procedure to safeguard our youth, and the community in general.

While I understand that this may be controversial, and I am not sure of the legal aspects of this request; I feel that it is imperative to examine activity at this location. Black citizens, especially Black youth, appear to suffer the most damage as a result of activities at this location. In my opinion, it is unacceptable to simply continue with business as usual without examining policies, procedures, practices, and activities in detail, that may or may not facilitate the outcomes that our community has observed.

I would like to discuss this issue further with each and any of you if necessary, but I think it is in our best interest to assure and affirm that business practices, in general, are in compliance with community safety standards and that our minors are being protected at all legal and licensed establishments within our city.

Thank you for your time and attention to this issue and request.

With all regards,
Pastor Supt. Harvey Burnett, New Bethel COGIC

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