CHICAGO (CN) – The owners of the E-2 Nightclub, where 21 customers were trampled to death in 2003, claim the City of Chicago, Mayor Richie Daley and police officials conspired to maliciously prosecute them to divert attention from the city’s botched rescue efforts.
E-2 manager Calvin Hollins Jr. and assistant manager Calvin Hollins III say the fatal melee on the night of Feb. 16-17 2003 was started when a disc jockey working for Envy Productions told a security officer to Mace or pepper spray people who were fighting.
“The spray permeated the dance floor, causing the crowd to panic,” states the complaint in Cook County Court. Shouts alleging a poison gas attack and fears of terrorism “served to heighten the panic,” and the stairway down became a mob scene.
The Hollinses say Chicago Police and emergency personnel “were on the scene within minutes” but “took no action to rescue anyone … for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.” The Hollinses say they did enter the club repeatedly “to save an assist several patrons.”
The Hollinses “were each charged with 63 county of involuntary manslaughter – three different ways for each of the victims.” They were cleared of all criminal charges on March 2, 2007.
The Hollinses claim, among other things, that the defendants confiscated more than $100,000 and haven’t returned it, and confiscated $40,000 worth of liquor and drank it up “or distributed it to unknown individuals.”
They demand punitive damages for conspiracy, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, theft and conversion. Their lead counsel is Gregory Kulis.