E2 Knuckleheads at it Again
By Prescott Carlson in News on Mar 1, 2008 9:43PM
We don't know about you, but if we managed to escape 63 counts of involuntary manslaughter after being hanged in the court of public opinion, we might try to go back to our lives, shut the hell up, and count our lucky stars.
But that's just not in the cards for Calvin Hollins, Jr., part-owner and manager of the E2 nightclub and his son, Calvin Hollins III, an assistant manager at the club. E2 was the scene of a horrific stampede in 2003 which claimed the lives of 21 people and injured dozens of others -- it's been speculated that the rush to the club's main exit was started when security used pepper spray to break up a fight. But what's not debatable is that E2's exit doors at the end of a narrow stairwell entered inward -- against fire code -- and caused a massive pileup of bodies. So when Collins Jr., his son, and owner Dwaine Kyles were brought up on charges, nobody was exactly hollering about criminal injustice -- at least not until they were acquitted.
Now Collins is taking things further and has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the City of Chicago. He's claiming that the city was overly aggressive in his prosecution, and it was actually the slow response of the police and fire departments that caused the deaths. Collins even throws down the race card:
"My true belief is that had this been the House of Blues, there might have been a couple of broken legs and arms but that would have been the extent of it in any personal individual," said Hollins Jr. "We lost several personal things in the building that we own so we look at this as a racially-motivated prosecution."
We believe that about House of Blues, too, but only because, uh, it has adequate exits and competent security, not because of the racial makeup of the crowd. The amount requested in the lawsuit includes the money and liquor Hollins claims was stolen from the club by police. [ABC7, CBS2, Trib]