Losing his business license would be devastating for Dark Horse Saloon owner Jerry Hanson.
“I’ve got a tremendous investment here,” Hanson said. “If something like that happens, you’re out of a lot of money.”
Hanson, who has owned and operated the Anniston bar for the last five years, said Thursday he feels for Shedrick Ridley, owner of Brother’s Bar in Jacksonville.
Ridley had his license revoked at a Jacksonville City Council Meeting on Monday night. A shooting outside the bar on Dec. 7 injured three, and the next council meeting saw the scheduling of a public hearing on whether to revoke Ridley’s license.
After listening to what the public had to say on the matter at the Dec. 23 hearing, and a litany of prior complaints, Council President Sandra Fox Sudduth said, the council voted to revoke the license.
“I think it just comes down to the safety of the city, and that’s what we want to protect,” Sudduth said Thursday. Prior complaints of trash being left scattered outside the bar, cars parking outside the bar’s property and noise disturbances also played a role, Sudduth said.
“It’s according to the licensee and their history. We give everybody a fair chance,” Sudduth said. “People just don’t know the full extent of why cities do what they do.”
A shooting outside of Jacksonville’s McDonald’s in 2015 didn’t result in any city action, nor did a 2018 shooting that left a man stumbling outside of the city’s Walmart with a gunshot wound before police were called.
Sudduth, who has been on the council since the early 1990s, said every incident is looked at on its own merits.
“I have not seen any difference in the ways we handle any different business,” Sudduth said. “We look at each situation individually.”
On the night of the Brother’s shooting, about 200 people were in the bar for a concert. According to Jacksonville police Chief Marcus Wood, the shooting occurred after an argument between a group from Bessemer and one from Talladega.
Hanson said that Dark Horse usually sees local and regular customers, but bars can’t control who shows up.
“You never know who will come in and you’ll never know what can happen,” Hanson said “If someone gets into a fight outside the bar, I don’t think I should be held responsible.”
Two other shootings in East Alabama occurred in the same weekend as the Brother’s incident.
A shooting at Sandbar and Grill in Lincoln left one dead, while a shootout at Anniston’s Smoking Moose injured four.
The other two have not yet resulted in any city action against the bars or owners.