Minneapolis Moves to Shut Down Aqua Nightclub After Shooting Wounds 3 People

October 16, 2018 10:45 PM

The City of Minneapolis told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it has asked the owner of Aqua Nightclub to voluntarily relinquish her liquor license, or city regulators will start the process to revoke the license.

Aqua's attorney, Andrew Bardwell, confirmed the city's information and issued this statement to KSTP:


Twin Cities Entertainment, LLC, did participate in a meeting with City licensing officials yesterday that was noticed as a settlement conference.  During that meeting, the City requested that Twin Cities Entertainment surrender its license.  We would not, however, describe that request as voluntary.  While the meeting was called under the auspices of a settlement conference, it was apparent that the City had already made up its mind as it offered an ultimatum: surrender your license or it will be revoked.  In the wake of such an event, emotions run high.  Obviously, the number one priority of all involved is the safety of our guests, our staff, and the community.  The knee-jerk reaction is clearly to blame Twin Cities Entertainment, but the situation is not that simple.  To shutter Aqua and oust its employees would only increase the damage resulting from the incident.  Prior to meeting with the City, Twin Cities Entertainment decided it would voluntarily remain closed through October 24, 2018, but it has not made any decision regarding operation after that date.  In the interim, Twin Cities Entertainment is reevaluating its security protocols to determine if improvements can be made to security, and when Aqua can safely reopen.  Twin Cities Entertainment remains committed to working with the City in a collaborative way to find a resolution that preserves public safety, protects the livelihoods of Aqua's staff, and allows the club to continue to contribute to the diverse and vibrant downtown scene. 

RELATED: Police: 3 Shot Inside Minneapolis Night Club

Barwell also said the nightclub has voluntarily decided to keep Aqua closed until Oct. 24.

City records, obtained by KSTP, show Aqua was cited for violations of the nightclub's liquor license conditions in April.

The city's licensing division cited and fined Aqua for not having proper insurance between April 1 and April 17 and was also cited for one the owner's business partners acting as a manager, which he is not allowed to do as a convicted felon.

Aqua's owner is Freedom Brewer and her business partner is Damien Lashaun Nelson.

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Nelson is now serving a prison term at Minnesota's St. Cloud Correctional Facility for felony domestic assault. City regulators also recommended Nelson not be allowed on the "licensed premises" and not have any "management, direction, or hiring practices at Aqua Nightclub."

A Minneapolis spokesperson also confirmed, for KSTP, that Brewer, her attorney and city licensing officials met Monday afternoon to discuss Aqua's future and city regulators laid out Brewer's options for the nightclub in that City Hall meeting.



Jay Kolls

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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