Daytona Beach police chief asks city board to shut down Circus Bar

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Daytona Beach police chief is trying get a bar shut down. He claims the bar is a dangerous nuisance.
 

Last month Channel 9 reported on the death of a man who was shot and killed at the Circus Bar, on Mason Avenue. Police Chief Michael Chitwood said that's not the only time police have been there.
 
On Friday the bar's owner told the city's Nuisance Abatement Board that he is caught between a rock and a hard place. The man told the city that he is one of the good guys. The police chief agreed, but said the man has failed to do things like adding cameras and security.
 
More than a dozen Daytona Beach police officers, investigators, and leaders lined up at the city's board meeting. They were ready to testify on what they said are constant problems at the Circus Bar over the last nine months.
 
"It's called the Circus Bar for a reason,: because it's a circus out there," said Chitwood.
 
Chitwood led the charge to give the bar what he called "the death sentence" -- a one-year suspension of the establishment's business license.
 
Chitwood said since November, when the owner, Joel Pearson, was warned, his officers have still been dealing with violent crimes at the bar. He said those crimes include a carjacking, a stabbing, and a slaying three weeks ago.
 
"That bar sits on the corner of a community. There's children that play in the street out there, there's older folks who sit on their porch at night. We cannot have the disorder and the lawlessness and the violence that occurs as a direct result of this property," said Chitwood.
 
Nuisance Abatement Board members read line-by-line the sanctions Pearson is said to have violated. He made excuses for why he still has not met several requirements, such as placing cameras in the bar's parking lot -- the scene of last month's slaying.
 
"So you're saying you never put (cameras) outside?" Pearson was asked at the board meeting.
 
"They're inside shooting outside," Pearson said of the cameras.
 
Chitwood says taking the bar's license would guarantee a safer community.
 
"If he can't manage his property correctly, that's a drain on resources for the rest of the city, and now we're asking the Nuisance Abatement Board to let us manage it for him," said Chitwood.

It was unclear when the board would hand down a decision on the bar's license.