V Live Memphis at 3569 S. Mendenhall will be under new management, will no longer be a strip club, will have tighter security measures, and will maintain video surveillance with a live feed from the parking lot that will be accessible to the Memphis Police Department, according to a settlement order filed this week by Judge Patrick Dandridge of the General Sessions Environmental Court Division XIV.
The club was temporarily closed as a public nuisance earlier this year after an investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Memphis Police Department’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit showed 64 calls for illegal activity since the club’s March 2017 opening. During that time there also had been shootings inside and outside the club resulting in several injuries and the deaths of two people.
Judge Dandridge said he will consider dismissing the nuisance complaint if V Live remains in substantial compliance with terms of the settlement when the parties return to his court on Oct. 11, 2019.
“Our goal is always to stop businesses from being a public nuisance and a danger to the community,” said Gen. Weirich, “but if they are willing to make substantial changes to create a safe, lawful environment then we are more than happy to work with them.”
Gen. Weirich said that under the judge’s order, V Live will:
*Focus on dining, televised sports entertainment, entertainers for special events, and live bands on selected nights. Dancing will be allowed, but it will no longer be a strip club and there will be no lap dances.
*Be run by a new manager and assistant manager will oversee operations and ensure compliance with the law, code regulations and civility of conduct.
*Be allowed to sell beer and patrons can bring their own liquor. No liquor will be sold or held in storage for a patron.
*Employ new security personnel from out of town. Prior security breaches occurred because the security agent was known to patrons who could pay to enter with a firearm, according to the court document. New precautions will involve a three-step security procedure to keep firearms out of the club.
Fire code violations and life safety hazards have been addressed by court order.
V Live is a franchise with additional locations in Chicago, Atlanta and Miami. A V Live club in Houston was closed as a public nuisance in September 2016 because of aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults and shootings.
The V Live Memphis club is less than a mile from four schools and two residential neighborhoods.
Sheriff’s officers and MGU investigators reported that on June 30, 2017, the club was hosting an after party for Memphis rapper Yo Gotti when patrons of the club fired shots at a vehicle on the V Live Memphis parking lot. A stray bullet hit a passing motorist driving on South Mendenhall. The victim, Darrell Hinton, 24, was hospitalized in critical condition and died on May 19 this year from his injuries. The shooter has not been identified.
In an incident on June 10 this year, Derrick Harris, a rapper known as RichLord, and Marcquis Hymon, both documented gang members, were shot inside the club by an unidentified male. Harris, 32, died of his gunshot injuries on June 25. Surveillance video showed several patrons throwing gang signs which led to a fight and shots being fired inside the club, causing mass panic.
In an incident on May 20 this year, a female patron was shot in the leg during a fight that also was precipitated by patrons throwing rival gang signs at one another. Surveillance video shows seven men armed with two rifles and five handguns running inside the club and heading outside. The victim said she was running to her car in the parking lot when she heard 15 to 20 shots and felt a sharp pain in her lower left leg.
On Nov. 8, 2017, agents with the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission and vice detectives seized 242 bottles of liquor and made three arrests at the V Live Memphis club, which does not have a license to sell liquor. Officers also have seized marijuana and cocaine inside the club.
A temporary injunction/restraining order closing the club in June was filed by Gen. Weirich and Bruce McMullen, Chief Legal Officer and Memphis City Attorney, and granted by Judge Dandridge.
The nuisance petition is being handled in court by Asst. City Prosecutor Kenya Hooks.