Former guards: Applejax kept trouble quiet - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Former guards: AppleJax kept trouble quiet

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City Attorney Nathan Davis City Attorney Nathan Davis
Applejax liquor license holder Mun Mun Patel Applejax liquor license holder Mun Mun Patel

An East Albany club where two men were killed last month will keep its liquor license.

23-year-old Jerro Toye and 22-year old Joshua Walls were stabbed to death in the parking lot of Apple Jax Sports Bar & Lounge.

City Attorney Nathan Davis believed the club was in violation of the city's alcohol code. Most commissioners saw it differently, and put the club on probation in their Tuesday meeting.

Albany's alcohol code requires businesses to monitor public health and safety in their parking lots. After that stabbing, the owners put up additional cameras to monitor the area where the two men were killed, and the commission required them to add a walking security guard.

Two former AppleJax security guards told city commissioners what they dealt with while working at AppleJax on East Broad Avenue.

Brandon Terrence described "Fights, patrons trying to bring in knives, guns, liquor."

They also told commissioners managers warned them not to report incidents to Albany Police.

Tom Hazel said, "I was told point blank on several occasions not to call APD. Larissa has cussed me out in the parking lot for calling APD to do a drive through on numerous occasions."

Club manager Larissa Stokes disputes those claims.  "I have talked to Tommy about calling police because, Tommy would call the police for somebody walked out of the club with a cup and he asked them to throw it away."

Between 500 and 1,000 citizens signed a petition in support of the club. AppleJax liquor license holder Mun Mun Patel told commissioners she added 8 cameras, both inside the club and out since the fatal stabbings.

"From my understanding the cars would park over there so I didn't put any camera that I needed, I put camera in front of the doors so when customers leave out of the club so we would know if anything had happened," Patel said.

Two cameras now monitor the grassy and paved parking lots on the liquor store side. Ultimately it was Commissioner Tommie Postell who recommended the club be put on probation for six months, a move that disappointed Jon Howard who voted against it.

"I think that the commission has really let the community down and the citizens of east Albany down because it is spelled out in the city ordinance, if an establishment can not control the crowd inside or outside in the parking lot the next step is for revocation," Howard said.

The club must also have security walking the parking lot and monitoring the cameras anytime they're open, hoping to eliminate future criminal activity at the club.

They wouldn't let us show you the cameras for security reason, but they did allow me inside the business to see the bank of security cameras, and all appear to be working.

If police are called to the club again, the commission could hold another hearing and revoke their liquor license.

Commissioners Bob Langstaff and Jon Howard voted in favor of the revocation.