In the wake of the stabbing death at a Naperville bar over the weekend, one city council member is calling for tougher liquor laws for the downtown he says has gotten out of control.
Councilman Doug Krause pointed out that the city has only shut down one bar for one day in the past five years due to a liquor license infraction, and that an ordinance passed last month will allow bars to stop serving food at 9 p.m.
“It's becoming more of a Rush Street after 10 o'clock at night — it's like Rush Street west,” Krause said Sunday night. “It's been increasing over the last eight to 10 years. There are mobs out there.”
Shaun Wild, a 24-year-old Naperville elementary schoolteacher, was stabbed to death while trying to intervene in an altercation at a downtown nightclub early Saturday morning. Two other people inside the venue were stabbed during the fight, which authorities said started when a North Central football player teased Naperville resident Daniel Olaska for drinking beer out of a wineglass.
Olaska was arrested at the scene after police say he stabbed Wild, Willie Hays and Rafael Castenada, an employee at the bar. Olaska is being held in lieu of $3 million bail on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
The stabbing was the second in less than a year at a downtown Naperville bar. In early March 2011, a bouncer at BlackFinn American Saloon was stabbed while escorting two people from the bar who were caught smoking in the bathroom.
“We had over 6,000 calls for police service in downtown Naperville last year. The problem is an enforcement problem,” Krause said referring to liquor law enforcement.
Councilman Grant Wehrli disagreed with Krause, calling his response a “knee jerk reaction to an event that is still under investigation.”
“This is, in my opinion, an isolated event,” Wehrli said. “We could have had law enforcement officers in the room and they would not have been able to stop it in time.”
Wehrli said the new ordinance set to drop the requirement for bars to serve food while open will not go into effect until May 1, and should not be tied into a tragedy just two days old.
“Right now the responsible thing to would be to step back, let the investigation continue,” Wehrli said. “Two days after an event, to suggest that laws need to change ...”
While Krause plans on bringing the ordinance up for reconsideration at this week's city council meeting, he hopes the city will hand down stiffer penalties for infractions of the liquor laws.
“When there's an infraction, they come in front of the mayor, the council has no say in it,” he said. “He says don't do it again or gives them a slap on the hand.”
Mayor George Pradel, who is the city's liquor commissioner, could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.