Old Town Association seeks to drive minorities out of the district with new laws

The Old Town Association, an organization that represents most of the businesses in Old Town, is once again supporting city ordinances designed to drive minorities, primarily young black men, out of the Old Town district.

The Wichita City Council is proposing that Old Town be labeled an entertainment district, a move that would give way to new ordinances stiffening penalties for certain crimes committed within that district, including petty offenses such as loitering and public intoxication, offenses that should be expected in a bar district.

Like most of the laws in Old Town that govern the behavior of the patrons, it is expected that these new ordinances, if passed, would be primarily enforced outside the few bars that still cater to a primarily minority crowd. Doc Howards and Club Liquid, two bars that did play hip-hop music, and that did have large minority patronages, have both closed after years of police harassment, the latter being replaced with a bar that could be seen as targeting a less diverse clientele.

These new laws, if passed, would allow for a $500 fine for first time offenders, with second time offenders facing up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail, along with actually being banned from the district, altogether. On the surface, these laws appear to be a simple way to ensure greater public safety in the district, but anyone paying attention in Old Town can tell you that there are two sets of standards in Old Town: the standards for the white people frequenting clubs, and the standards for everyone else in the district.

Young black men leaving clubs in Old Town can expect to be tear gassed, trampled with horses, and, at times, even beaten, simply for not moving along to their vehicles quickly enough.

White people, on the other hand, can actually get into full-on fist fights in front of police officers without repercussion, as I and other activists witnessed outside the Pumphouse (a bar in the district) while investigating Old Town policing activities last year.

Anyone familiar with police activity in district knows it will be the black men who are targeted by these new laws, and the arrest statistics will prove it.

While most of the business owners Old Town simply want less crime in the district, the owners of the Courtyard Marriott and the Hotel at Old Town are using their ties to City Council member Janet Miller to drive the minorities out of the district, because, as Hotel at Old Town owners put it, “our guests are frightened by groups of intoxicated, young black men walking by the hotel”.

Hotel at Old Town



3 thoughts on “Old Town Association seeks to drive minorities out of the district with new laws

  1. This is not surprising, there has always been devise laws in place to target minorities, especially black males in Wichita. You have prominent African american males in position, who could make a stand against the proposed law and ordinances. However, they have been conditioned to turn there backs on those who may not be accepted by the ruling class. Who they themselves think have been accepted. There is a large enough population of African Americans there in Wichita to make a stand against this passive aggressive racial law.

  2. The two clubs listed were CONSTANTLY in the news with crime and drama. In my opinion, the problems are not racial but AGE related. Kids 18 to 21 SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED in night clubs! They aren’t mature enough to handle the environment and are the cause of most fights. I don’t care what kind of music you listen to or what color your skin is. IF you are under 21 (unless in the military) you should NOT be in a bar!

  3. This is bull shit. There is no white standard or black or yellow or pink and green standard there is if you act like an idiot then you get treated like one. If you show aggression then you shall receive. Trust me i know from experience. Dont chose to single out a minority Because of the way they act thats not on us.

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