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Owners of The Groove Lounge sue city over shutdown

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The owners of an East Side nightclub are suing the City of Buffalo to overturn an order that shut the club down. 

The lawsuit accuses the city of "selective enforcement" in shutting down The Groove indefinitely by holding the night club's owners responsible for incidents of violence they claim to have little control over.

Two people were shot outside of the club recently- including an off-duty Buffalo Police officer. 

However, city officials have insisted the order to close follows a number of incidents in and around the night spot's property.

City officials claimed the July 22 shooting outside The Groove was the last straw.

Arrests, claims of harassment, and dozens of police calls preceded the closure, including a fatal shooting last year. 

The Groove's owners are fighting back, organizing a demonstration outside the pub and restaurant last week.

"They do not want us here," said co-owner Laurie Anderson.  "Actually they say we are not a good fit. They have said that from day one, but our supporters, as you can see, say a different thing."

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood issued the order to close, citing a dire emergency, but The Groove's attorney, Steve Cohen, says in the lawsuit that only the Mayor has the authority to issue such an order. Cohen questions how an emergency is determined.

"Because to say that the mayor can simply close a business whenever he deems there to be a dire emergency, does not protect the people consistent with their Constitutional rights," Cohen said. 

The mayor's spokesman said they don't comment on pending litigation. Mayor  Brown said last week he simply delegated his authority to Commissioner Lockwood in ordering the closure.

The Mayor cited other establishments that the city has closed, and said they are entitled to an administrative hearing.

In some cases those business are allowed to re-open. Others got shut down for good.

The Groove's hearing is set for Wednesday, and their hearing in state court over the lawsuit follows on Thursday.


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