Miami Club Stripped of Late-Night License

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Diamonds Cabaret has lost its license to remain open from 4 to 6 a.m. in the wake of two stabbings and a shooting at the club in January.

The club previously held two late-night licenses, one allowing it to stay open from 2 to 4 a.m., and the other from 4 to 6. Both were revoked by the North Miami Beach City Council last July, but the club gradually earned them back.

Following the January incidents, Vice Mayor John Patrick called for a review by the council, and the second license was consequently yanked once again.

The stabbings occurred on the same night, Jan. 13. The victims were Walter Lee Collier, 27, and Donnie E. Robbins, 31. One week earlier, Jan. 6, Raymond Leida was shot in the leg and groin after exiting the club. Leida survived the injuries, and Devon Hopkins was arrested in connection with the shooting. All three incidents happened between 4 and 6 a.m.

Gary I. Rosenberg, attorney for Diamonds owner Ebony & Ivory Entertainment, argued to the council that the club was being selectively targeted and had done everything it could to stem violent crime there.

"If someone wants to do something to someone else, they are going to do it," Rosenberg said. "Everyone must be treated the same."

Another North Miami Beach club, Solid Gold, has the same license but has had no similar incidents, according to police. Since first facing the city council in July, Diamonds began scanning patrons with metal detector wands and patting them down manually once inside. The club also hired four off-duty police officers to monitor the premises.

Police Chief Rafael P. Hernandez recommended that the council revoke Diamonds' 4-6 a.m. license for one year, and require the club to hire three off-duty officers Monday and Tuesday nights, five Friday and Saturday nights, and four the remaining nights.

"It could have happened to one of our officers," Hernandez said, referring to the January incidents. "For that reason I am concerned."

Former council member Robert Taylor asked the council, "When do you say enough is enough? Please don't let it be on your shoulders if someone dies."

City Manager Keven Klopp agreed to leave the club's 2-4 a.m. license in place, but said he will be reviewing all businesses with late-night licenses.

Mayor Raymond Marin asked the council to re-examine the city's 20-year-old policy for late-night business licenses. Klopp said he plans to look at how other cities regulate late-night businesses to potentially amend North Miami Beach's policy.

Commented Mayor Marin, "Unfortunately, the good clubs are going to get swept up in the results of what's happening in one bad club."