Stabbing renews debate on club But lawyer defends Paradox, says patrons must act responsibly

December 30, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A razor-blade attack on the dance floor of a Southwest Baltimore after-hours club has left a Coppin State College student severely injured and has rekindled a debate on whether the controversial establishment should be closed.

City police say the cutting that occurred early Saturday is the latest in a series of problems at Paradox Nightclub, which is just south of the new Ravens' stadium and this summer survived a police-backed bid by a neighborhood association to revoke its license.

"The only thing we can do now is kind of hope that we don't have something that leads to someone's death," said Maj. Elmer Dennis, commander of the Southern District police station.

Dennis said police are having recurring problems with "sporadic instances of violence that are closely associated with that location. If these things keep adding up, something has to be done."

But a lawyer who represents the owners of the club in the 1300 block of S. Russell St. said yesterday there is no justification to close the establishment. He said the Paradox is being unfairly singled out by the community because of its past.

"The club did not breed this activity," said attorney Frank Boston III, who added that the women involved knew each other. "This may or may not have happened outside or inside the club. These girls had a feud. It's unfortunate that they brought it to our premise.

"We have always thought that we are being singled out for every little thing that happens, and, quite frankly, we feel that it is unfair," Boston added. "We're willing to do whatever it takes to show the world that we are a legitimate nightclub."

The incident occurred about 3: 15 a.m. during an altercation between two groups of young women who were dancing near each other in the main ballroom.

A brief fight began "because of the 'bad blood,' unwanted glances and casual contact," the police report says.

Police said the altercation was broken up, but a woman followed Jameka Alucia Relish, 20, and allegedly attacked her in another room with an orange box cutter with a razor blade.

Police said they found Relish, who lives in Northwest Baltimore and attends Coppin State, lying in a pool of blood on the floor. She had been cut from the top of her head, by her ear to her throat.

Carolyn Young, 20, of the 3800 block of Spaulding Ave. was arrested inside the club and charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Police said they recovered the razor blade hidden inside a large floor speaker.

Relish was in good condition yesterday at University of Maryland Medical Center.

The debate over safety at Paradox comes when city officials are taking an aggressive stance against clubs that operate into the early morning hours and attract teen-agers and young adults.

City officials recently closed Faust's Club Inn in Northeast Baltimore after complaints by neighbors of shootings, public drinking and loud music. Last year, they shut down Volcano's after a shooting outside left two college students dead and several other people wounded.

Police have contended since the summer that the managers and owners of Paradox Nightclub have ignored open drug dealing.

Police raided the club Feb. 2 after undercover officers said they paid $10 each to attend a so-called "rave," parties that typically feature techno-music and hallucinogenic drugs. Police said they recovered marijuana, heroin, cocaine and LSD from the dance floor.

But the city's zoning board decided to let Paradox Nightclub remain open, angering the head the president of the Southwest Community Council, Scott Greenbaum.

"The incident this weekend illustrates their negligence in protecting the local area," he said.

But Boston said his clients have not held any raves since the club was briefly closed this summer, and bouncers aggressively target illegal drugs as part of an agreement with city police.

He said his clients have installed metal detectors, though he doesn't know how a razor made it through.

"The public has to learn to take on some self-responsibility," Boston said. "We must stop the violence, or sooner or later there won't be anyplace for someone to go and dance because of the violence that it breeds."

Pub Date: 12/30/97

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