Burlington's police chief has criticized staff at the popular Nectar's nightclub and music venue for the way they handled the threat of gun violence prior to a shooting at the club last winter.
In late February 2018 at Nectar's, 37-year-old Rashad Nashid pulled out a gun and threatened another customer whom he had been feuding with for an extended period. Staff confiscated the weapon from Nashid but returned it to him when he left the bar. After leaving, Nashid allegedly waited outside for the person he'd been arguing with to leave as well.
An altercation eventually ensued after the other man left the bar, and Rashid fired the gun into a crowd of people along Main Street outside of the bar. 27-year-old Chelsi Parker was an innocent bystander who got shot in the lung. She was forced to spend nearly three weeks at the University of Vermont Medical Center recovering from her injuries.
Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo has criticized Nectar's employees for failing to call police instead of confiscating the gun when they saw Nashid threatening another customer with the weapon.
Nashid has pleaded not guilty to two federal counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is expected to appear in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington on September 20 to answer to additional state-level charges.
Attorney contributor Kim Dougherty represents violent crime victims in civil court. We've asked her to discuss some points on bar owner liability for shootings and other violent incidents:
When gun violence occurs at a bar, nightclub, or other business, it's important to ask not only who was responsible for the shooting, but if anything more could have been done to prevent it. In some cases, these shootings may have been prevented if it weren't for negligence on the part of the establishment. For example, a bar could potentially be considered negligent for a shooting if they lacked basic security measures, such as bouncers and cameras - or for mishandling the threat of violence.
Victims of bar violence should be aware that they may have legal rights in the civil court system as well as the criminal justice system. While the latter will handle the prosecution of those responsible, the former can help victims recover financial compensation for the setbacks they face. Additionally, these lawsuits have the potential to improve security so that a similar incident doesn't happen in the future.
If you or someone you love has recently become the victim of violent crime in a bar or nightclub, you can learn more about your legal options by discussing your case with an experienced crime victim lawyer.