By Robert Hall
The owner of Club Omni, Provo”s sole dance club, continues to seek an apology from Provo police.
Citing police brutality aimed at dance attendees, Ken Morena, Omni owner, said it was one of the worst cases of bad police judgment he can remember.
Around midnight, July 3, police shut down and evacuated dancers from Club Omni using unseemly or excessive tactics outside of the jurisdiction allowed for police officers, Morena said.
Since then, Morena said he has sought an official apology from the police.
“Nobody has been willing to speak about it, except for the mayor”s spokesperson, Michael Mower,” Morena said. “He is the only person who has responded beyond the system.”
Morena said he would drop the issue if Provo police would issue a formal apology, but no official apology has been given.
Instead, Morena has spent time vying for help from the local newspapers and broadcasting stations.
Karen Maine, public information officer for Provo Police, declined to comment about the incidents at Omni.
Sean Liddell, a dance attendee from Salt Lake City, said he saw a man handcuffed and tossed on the ground July 3.
“(The man) seemingly did not commit a single crime. If I had a video camera and had taped it, the tape would have been bigger than the police brutality tape in Inglewood, California,” Liddell said.
Morena said other witnesses can account for misuse of pepper spray and other semi-violent acts and outbreaks.
The efforts used by police under the circumstances were unwarranted according to Morena.
He approached Lt. Scott Finch on the night to find out why the place was being shut down, and Finch told him he was violating conditional use of his permit, Morena said.
“When I suggested that we would shut the doors and allow the people back in the building, Lt. Finch refused to permit it, telling me that it was too late– he had made his decision and there was nothing I could do about it,” Morena said.
Val Maynard, a Provo resident, contacted Morena because of his son”s experience in an unrelated run-in with the Provo City police.
“My son had the displeasure of meeting the Provo Police Chief who cited him for a noisy exhaust and told him not to come back. He called Club Omni a nuisance,” Manyard said.