An early Sunday morning raid at Backstreet Memphis lead to the temporary closure of the city's largest gay dance club and the arrest of owner Shane Trice.
Undercover Memphis Police officers say they witnessed illegal drug sales, illegal alcohol sales, and gambling inside the club on at least six occasions. In July, an undercover officer purchased drugs and witnessed minors drinking alcohol. The nuisance closure complaint also alleges that officers witnessed sex acts taking place in the Dark Room, an empty, unlit room located in the hallway behind the main bar area.
Trice was arrested and charged with aggravated gambling promotion, storage of liquor for sale, possession of gambling device, and unlawful sale of alcohol. Three others were issued citations for selling alcohol after permitted hours. Trice is in criminal court this morning, and he's set to appear in Environmental Court regarding the nuisance closure on Friday.
Backstreet's website contains this lengthy statement denying any wrongdoing:
"Backstreet Memphis and its entire staff including the owner would like to say thank you to all of the customers who were at the club this weekend. Backstreet Memphis has over 26,000 members that come there on a regular basis. The MPD has made our nightclub out to be something that it is not. Anyone that goes there knows we are most likely the most compliant bar in this city with minors, gambling and such.
We are the only nightclub that verifies every ID with all 50 states before entering. Backstreet has never had a gambling device of any kind but has been accused of having them. Backstreet had mega touch machines made by merit. These machines are in no way designed for gambling and are in almost every bar and restaurant in Memphis. The owner was arrested and a Memphis police officer said he was paid out on a machine that is simply not capable of doing such. (There is absolutely no way the machine the officer is talking about would pay money to anyone).
Backstreet has also been accused of promoting sex at the nightclub, which is a crazy accusation. We hope that all of the thousands of you are just as apalled as we are with such accusations about the largest dance club in Memphis TN. Backstreet opened in 1995 and has never been through such as we have with the person who made these accusations. We had over 300 people searched, checked for warrants and valid ids this weekend. Not one minor was found nor anyone found without an id in our nightclub. How many bars would this happen in?"
To read the whole statement, click here.