Terrorist Attack in Wichita: The Truth Behind the Tear Gas

The recent tear gas incident in Wichita’s bar district was, quite literally, a terrorist attack. According to Merriam-Webster, terrorism is defined as “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion”.

To understand why the Wichita Police Department chose to deploy tear gas on over 1,000 people outside and inside of a popular dance club on Thanksgiving night, and why this was an act of terrorism, one must first examine the socioeconomic and political factors surrounding Old Town, Wichita’s entertainment district.

According to the Old Town Association, a committee of business owners in the district, Old Town businesses generate over $50 million, annually. The club that was tear gassed, Doc Howard’s, is located directly in-between two very posh hotels, the Hotel at Old Town and the Courtyard Marriott.

Doc Howard’s is one of, if not the largest of the clubs in the district, and caters to the most racially diverse customer base. Despite the club’s investment of over $100,000 in video surveillance equipment, strict prohibition of gang or drug related activity, and a unit of privately hired Wichita police officers, there are occasional disturbances outside the club, particularly when the bars close at 2 am, as is customary when large numbers of people are drinking.

Rather than effectively police the situation, officers have repeatedly resorted to unjustifiable violence to resolve incidents, rarely making arrests, even when they witness violations of the law, firsthand. The police use horses to force the crowd down the road, when the clubs close.

In that time frame, it is normal for as many as 2,000 people to fill the street. Most people move slowly in the direction of their cars, often stopping to talk with friends, or determine who is driving whom, since most of the club-goers are inebriated by the end of the night.

People have been trampled, and one young man was even tied to a horse, by a police officer, and then dragged through the street. This does not happen outside any of the other clubs in the area, or anywhere else in town, for that matter.

Fights that happen outside other clubs in the area are generally ignored by police, who may break up the fight, but make no arrests. Loiterers are not harassed outside the other clubs in the area. But the people who leave Doc Howard’s just before 2 am are herded like cattle, down the road, and forced into their cars, in the name of clearing the area to maintain public safety. Again, this does not happen outside any of the other clubs.

In September, the Wichita City Council passed a series of ordinances after a spate of incidents in Old Town. The ordinances gave police more power to cite people not leaving the area fast enough, added more cameras and reworded an ordinance determining which clubs can cater to customers who are adults, but not yet at the legal drinking age, which, in Kansas, is 21.

These ordinances were lobbied for by the Old Town Association, and opposed by the owners of Doc Howard’s. The problem with these ordinances is that they do little to address the actual problem. The ordinances require club owners to provide security outside their clubs, and particularly in adjacent parking lots.

These parking lots are actually where the majority of the problems occur. They are not well-lit, and are not patrolled by the police. Unfortunately, the club owners’ insurance policies do not cover their employees when they are in these adjacent parking lots, so no one is securing these areas.

When these ordinances passed, the owners at Doc Howard’s made the decision to stop paying four Wichita police officers to provide private security outside the club. These officers were each being paid $37.50 per hour, by Doc Howard’s. However, the Wichita Police Department determines who can actually hire these off-duty but uniformed officers, and who cannot.

Doc Howard’s cannot hire these officers directly, so they are required to contract them through the Old Town Association. The Old Town Association has determined that Doc Howard’s is bad for their businesses, and many of those owners want Doc Howard’s shut down. The high class hotels in the area feel that having large numbers of drunk minorities walking by is detrimental to their sales revenue.

Many of the business owners that comprise the Old Town Association also have very close ties to members of the Wichita City Council, which passed these ordinances, that were clearly designed to harm Doc Howard’s business. In fact, one member of the City Council actually held their victory celebration in the Hotel at Old Town, after the election.

So essentially, Doc Howard’s was paying these police officers who were, in all actuality, working against the club for the Old Town Association. So, a few weeks ago, Doc Howard’s stopped paying the private police unit. And that is when the real problems started.

Now we come back to Thanksgiving and the tear gas incident outside the club. According to Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams, one canister of tear gas was deployed in response to multiple small disturbances outside the club, although video evidence and eye witness reports do not support these claims.

There was an altercation, with at least one patron being injured, but the vast majority of the people in the crowds were not involved, nor even close to the fight. The police are claiming that the fight was the reason for the tear gas, but evidence suggests that the fight was actually just an excuse to tear gas the crowd.

What is known, is that tear gas was deployed, just as the club-goers had started filing out of the door. Approximately 1,000 people were either in the street outside the club, or still exiting the building when the tear gas was deployed. The chaos that ensued was captured on multiple security cameras and the videos are embedded below.

The security cameras that were installed after the ordinances passed were, according to Chief Williams, not functioning. The police department failed to inform the media of the incident for several days. In fact, if certain members of the media had not been tipped off (by me), the police never would have made any statement regarding this incident.

When the Chief did finally release a statement, he downplayed the situation and repeatedly claimed that the tear gas was the safest way to disperse the crowd, which is absolutely ridiculous when one views the video footage. The reality is that the crowd was dispersing, and the tear gas caused an extremely dangerous situation in which people were trampled.

When Chief Williams released his statement, he had not seen the video footage, and did not expect it to be released. Chief Williams says the tear gas was justified and reasonable, although local civil rights attorney Jim Thompson disagrees. Thompson says that the officer’s actions put far more people in danger and that those people have a cause for action in civil court. Thompson represents Doc Howard’s and also spoke out against the ordinances when they were first proposed by the City Council.

Now, just over a week after the tear gas attack, Doc Howard’s has rehired the private police officers. However, the officers demanded a pay increase, and are now paid $60 per hour, each. Just to clarify and reiterate:

This private police unit was making $37.50 per hour, apiece. Then Doc Howard’s stopped paying the officers, because the officers seemed to cause more harm than good, primarily because they were actually employed by enemies of the club. So then the department tear gassed 1,000 club goers, including the entire staff of Doc Howard’s. Now, the private police unit has been rehired, but demanded an unreasonable pay increase, with assurances that there will be no more trouble.

The tear gas attack in Old Town was a terrorist attack, and it was extortion, in its purest form.

The videos below show that the crowd was clearly dispersing in a safe manner prior to the tear gas. Then, chaos erupts as gas fills the street and the inside of the club. The first two videos are raw, uncut footage from Doc Howard’s surveillance cameras. The third video is an edited cut, in which the police chief’s false statements are dubbed over footage of the carnage. Below that is a link to the video of Chief Williams’ uncut statement. I urge you to view them all, in their entirety.

Lt. Doug Nolte denied that there was a fog of gas, that the amount used was very small. Nolte also says the use of tear gas, outside, is rare, due to wind factors. 

“We put out a small canister of it – it’s not like the Old Town area was blanketed in a fog of tear gas,” Nolte said.

Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams’ uncut statement

Lt. Doug Nolte denied that there was a fog of gas, that the amount used was very small. Nolte also says the use of tear gas, outside, is rare, due to wind factors. 

“We put out a small canister of it – it’s not like the Old Town area was blanketed in a fog of tear gas,” Nolte said.


31 thoughts on “Terrorist Attack in Wichita: The Truth Behind the Tear Gas

    1. I worked at Americas Pub for 5 years and drove up from kc to work every big event they had – If it is against there written policies how come this was allowed – In the past 5 years I have seen this happen on more than 5 occasions where they have used there mace against non violent people. These officers are criminals and terrorist no matter wich way the “officials” for the WPD spin it.

  1. This is absolute terrorism and extortion – Every Officer Involved In These Incidents need to be criminaly charged including the quote “old town” organazation. This story should be on every news agency but it will not because it is a small little town not New York City. I Hope They All Are Charged With Terrorism And Extortion.

  2. I’m sure I’ll get some nasty responses, but I personally am sickened by the young population that only exists to party and they could care less about the real issues. Most are inconsiderate, egotistical and arrogant. They are not respectful. They live to shop. They live to drink. They live to “seem hip”. NO I don’t believe it was proper for the WPD to fire tear gas on them but I wasn’t there to make any good judgement.

    I live in California now. Arrived here from Ohio about 1.5 years ago. People are downright ridiculous and insane. Everyone walks around with tatoos all across their bodies. Not just the young, but the middle age as well. I can understand a few small tatoos but these people have taken it to the extreme. Its freaksville. They all think they’re cool…arrogant as hell and believe they are gods gift to humanity. California is sicko.

    I be glad if the NWO conspiracy happens and half the worthless and useless phucks are elminated from this planet. Many of them contribute nothing to society, over consume, are wasteful and haven’t a clue about the world and the issues. America will wake up soon. The waste and arrogance will come to an end.

    1. It sounds to me as though either you don’t remember what it was like to be young or you are extremely jealous of these people’s free expression. I also lived in Cali for a number of years and didn’t see the issue with the tattooed people you are discribing. I mean it is their bodies after all and I certainly don’t think they are going to hold you down and force you to get tattooed like them. Freaksville is overly harsh, they just are more liberal. They don’t hate on others for not being like them!

      Stop being so OVERLY judgemental and live your life as you choose. I promise you they aren’t losing any sleep over your being so uptight and hating on them.

      1. This has nothing to do with cali – This is a small town in Wichita Kansas – No matter if the people are pink, green, white or black – No citizen in the United States should be extorted or terroristacly Assaulted by the people there “HARD EARNED” tax dollars that pay there salary. Who in the hell do these officers think they are? This is A M E R I C A and We The People will not stand idly by why these attrocites take place – I promise you that chief of police there in Wichita will be on the unemployment line come next election. I will be heading up a campaign for ANY other person that runs.

        1. Turbo, I appreciate your comments, but one slight correction: Wichita is a city in Kansas, with over 600,000 people in the area. Small compared to California, but not really that small… Just backwards…

  3. sir how do you expect them to respect you when you do this in the name of the law and i have seen over theyears of police shootings women being beaten by the police little kids being put in handcuffs i saw a video a while back of a police officer beating up a 15 yo boy because his shirt wasnot tucked in and the list goes on how do you expect these kids to respect you

  4. There is certainly a “witch hunt” out for Brian and Keith Shapiro, owners of Doc Howard’s. Although, I’m really not impressed with the “under 21” crowd that particular club attracts; far be it for the city to use such harsh and inhumane tactics to make over 1000 people run through the streets in fear. I’d bet the WPD officer who threw the canister is looking at these videos and thinking “damn, I fucked up”. Or atleast I hope so….

  5. Wow. All of you idiots are just looking for a excuse to say fuck the police. Which is pathetic. Fucking kill yourselves. And doc Howard’s is racially diverse? Hahahahahaha. Yeah you can tell in that video how diverse it is. Doc Howard’s is a fucking trashy ass club. Maybe if the fucking retards would of moved when told to this wouldent of happened.

    1. See that kind of comment is just trash as you so well put – The police were acting as terrorist that night – Sir I must say if this happened to you it sure would be a different story – These officers need to be criminaly charged and locked up – your comments are ridiculous and juvenile and if these are your true opinions then I feel sorry for your family and children

  6. I’m an ex-cop and have wrote JusThis a story about a cop behaving badly, very badly. I believe America, all of American, the young (legal age) elderly and middle aged have a right to be themselves. But getting smoked by tear gas for loitering, perhaps the lieutenant made a boo boo. But then we have broken surveillance cameras, rationalizing – it was just a tiny can of gas, and nothing reported to the media. Scary indeed – here’s to hoping all gets better in the State I was born in!

    1. Thank You Officer! Thats all I am saying – we need more cops like this so all our public servants can see this is “NO GAME” – These Our The Peoples Streets That The Peoples Tax Dollars Paid For. We Will Take Back Our Streets From Bad Cops That Don’t Uphold Their Oaths They Took.

  7. Sociedades negadas de los Derechos Humanos.Lideres que no asumen convincentemente como política de Estado los Derchos Humanos,se reflejan estos apremios
    Si todavía Estados Unidos se niega a reconocer el Genocidio Armenio,no me sorprende en nada el accionar policial.

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