FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FILES CONSENT DECREE RESOLVING DISCRIMINATION CASE WITH WICHITA, KANSAS NIGHTCLUB OWNERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - - The Justice Department today filed a consent decree in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas resolving claims that Joe's, one of the largest nightclubs in Wichita, discriminated against African American and Latino patrons.
The Justice Department investigated Joe's nightclub, formerly known as Acapulco Joe's, working together with the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC). The investigation revealed that Joe's owners and managers excluded Latino and African American patrons from the club, or limited the number who were admitted, by refusing to accept valid ID cards as proof of age, applying stricter dress code requirements to African Americans and Latinos than to white patrons, and instructing employees to deny access to minorities. In the consent decree, the owners and managers of Joe's admit that African-American and Latino individuals were wrongfully excluded from the nightclub.
"No one should be denied access to a nightclub or other place of entertainment that is open to the public because of their national origin or the color of their skin," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We are pleased we could work together with the Kansas Human Rights Commission to bring an end to this type of discrimination."
The settlement, filed together with a complaint, requires the owners and managers of Joe's to take several steps to ensure that discrimination against African American and Latino patrons ceases. They must obtain training for themselves and their staff about the non-discrimination requirements of Title II and other federal, state, and local civil rights laws; rewrite their dress code so it cannot readily be used in a discriminatory manner; change their policies for handling ID cards; and provide patrons who are denied admission with a written explanation, in English and/or Spanish, of the reason admission was denied.
Joe's owners must also post notification, in English and Spanish, of its nondiscrimination policy; post a sign, in both English and Spanish, identifying the forms of ID that will be accepted as valid proof of age; and obtain advertising in local newspaper and radio sources in both English and Spanish to inform the public that Joe's is open to all patrons regardless of race, color, national origin, or religion. In addition, Joe's owners will make a $5,000.00 payment to a civil rights organization to finance testing designed to ensure that Joe's complies with the provisions of this settlement agreement.
The current owners and managers of Joe's named in the complaint are: JOOT, Inc., Candi Morris, Anthony Morris, and Richard Davis. Also named are Better Times, Inc., and Better Times, Inc., former owners of the club. Charles Badeen is named both as a former owner and manager and current staff member of Joe's.
The Justice Department's investigation was conducted under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion in places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, places of entertainment, and other places of public accommodation.
"This is a good resolution achieved through effective State and Federal team work," said William V. Minner, KHRC Executive Director. "We hope this settlement will help educate business owners about their nondiscrimination obligations under State and Federal law."
More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Copies of the complaint and consent order in this case (United States v. Charles Badeen, et al.), as well as several other cases involving Title II and places of public accommodation, are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/hcehome.html.