News Briefs
September 21, 2016

Rutland Region

Club owner files suit against city
RUTLAND—September 12, Charles Greeno, owner of Rutland dance club The Local, filed a federal lawsuit against the Rutland City Police Department for discrimination and unequal enforcement. Greeno complains that police situating their cruisers outside his business on weekend nights at closing time is discriminatory because many of his patrons are non-white. His attorney, Matthew Hart, said, “These are constitutional issues.”
Police Chief Brian Kilcullen disagrees and has said that patron behavior has led him and other police officers to believe the heavy police presence from 1:45 to 2:15 a.m. has been an effective deterrent for the past seven months. Commander Matthew Prouty has said that the blue lights on the cars outside The Local are not intended to intimidate but instead to be “feel good blues,” so that patrons leaving the club will feel safe. The Rutland PD uses the same tactic in other “hot zones” in the city as well, he commented.
The question may well rely on whether Merchants Row at closing time really is “hot.” The Rutland police-provided data published in the online Crime Reports does not show criminal activity during The Local’s open hours nor the times that police surveillance is heaviest outside the club.
Over the past 20 months, the neighborhood around The Local has shown only one violent crime from January 1, 2015, to September 4, 2016, on Friday and Saturday between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. In those same time periods, there were five violent crimes in the same block as the Center Street Alley bar and five violent crimes on Summer Street.
Kilcullen admits he has told Greeno that having police cars outside the dance club at the end of the night is “an appropriate and reasonable response to address the conduct of his patrons.” Kilcullen describes the approach as “data-driven policing,” saying the police rely on crimes recorded in various areas to dictate officer placement, but critics describe it as racial profiling under another name.
Punk festival feels cold-shouldered
RUTLAND—Punk in the Park organizer John Ellis thought he had a success on his hands. The Sept. 3 event was well attended; there were lots of activities for young people, and a lot of parents attended. But Ellis received an email a few days after the event from Rutland Rec Dept. Superintendent Cindi Wight, with the notification that next year’s event must be shorter and probably held to lower decibel levels. Other amplified music extends into the evening, especially the Wednesday night concerts in Main Street Park, Ellis complained. Some neighbors have complained about the event each year, Wight observed. The event—held for 11 years—is unlike any other event held in the park, because the amplified music is constant for an extended length of time, she said. She hopes to find a compromise.
Wallingford tennis court rejuvenated
WALLINGFORD—Wallingford now has a model tennis court after renovating one of the town’s decaying playing surfaces. Vegetation had not only grown through the fence around the court but also through part of the surface. Voters agreed to appropriate $23,000 for the project at last March’s floor meeting. Voters agreed that the town would be better off with a single very good court rather than repairing two courts but doing neither of them very well. With a new playing surface, net, lines, and fence, the court can be used for both tennis and pickleball.
Road crews, including foreman Steve Lanfear and road crew member Charlie Woods, worked to remove fence posts and excess paving. Town tree warden Steve Pytlik plans to restore some greenery in the park, laying it out so it won’t interfere with the courts or their use.
Renovation began in early June, and was finished in early August. It is open for use 8 a.m.-8 p.m. The recreation committee asks users to wear appropriate footwear and be considerate of others waiting.

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