published Thursday, December 29th, 2011

City of Chattanooga files for injunction to shutdown and padlock Mosaic church


by Cliff Hightower
Mosaic Church which doubles as Club Fathom in Chattanooga.
Mosaic Church which doubles as Club Fathom in Chattanooga.
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    Mosaic Church pastor Tim Reid speaks about shootings that occurred Christmas morning outside of the Mosaic Church.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The city took steps Wednesday to shut down a downtown church and its youth events after at least nine people were wounded in a Christmas Eve shooting.

Chattanooga attorneys filed paperwork in Hamilton County Circuit Court seeking an injunction to padlock the Mosaic Arts Venue at 412 Market St. The building is home to the Mosaic church and Club Fathom, an urban youth outreach program. The filing states that the establishment is a public nuisance and lists a series of shootings and assaults at the location since 2006.

The complaint says the venue has a history of "quarreling, drunkenness, fighting and other breaches of peace." The city is trying to stop a New Year's Eve party set for Saturday.

'"The deadline is we're trying to avoid problems this weekend," said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd. "We would hope they would comply just with the order from the judge, but if not and if need be, if we have to go padlock it, we will."

Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth has set a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday. The order states that the Rev. Tim Reid, pastor of Mosaic church and head of Fathom Inc., and property owner Beverly B. Henry should appear in court and show why the establishment should remain open.

Neither Reid nor Henry could be reached for comment Friday.

Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett said the injunction would be only temporary and that the city will ask later for a permanent injunction.

"As long we get it done before the weekend, when the trouble is expected, that's fine with us," Dodd said. "This gives everyone on both sides a fair opportunity."

Since 2006, police have responded to more than 20 assault calls at Club Fathom's address.

On Christmas Eve, more than 400 people streamed out of Club Fathom just before the city's midnight curfew when gang members fired bullets into the crowd, police said. At least nine people were wounded.

A Facebook listing for the New Year's party at the Mosaic Arts Venue labels it as a "New Year's Eve Party/Art Showcase" and features deejays Synaptic Flow and Tryezz. The listing also says "BYOB: Other refreshments available."

Reid said Tuesday in a press conference that "BYOB" stands for "Bring Your Own Bible."

Mayor Ron Littlefield scoffed at that idea Tuesday.

"There's going to be a lot of disappointed people down there gripping their liquid Bibles," he said.

'THE OZZY OSBOURNE OF THE BLUES'

One performer who is scheduled to play Friday night at the venue said he still plans to rock the night away, even if the door is padlocked.

On Wednesday, a flier appeared on Facebook promoting an event by local blues musician Bob Carty. The flier said, "Not even the Mayor can stop The Real Bob Carty."

Carty said his event has been planned for two months, but he produced the flier after hearing about the city's actions to stop his "friends" from playing Saturday night.

"If they padlock the place, I'm taking it to the street," he said. "I have generators."

He said he is a member of the Mosaic church and does not understand animosity towards it. The church reaches out to people that others "won't even meet halfway," he said.

He said he also wonders why the city did not go after his event on Friday night and is instead focusing only on the New Year's Eve event.

"If they're not going to let my friends play, why would they not let me?" he asked. "I'm the freaking Ozzy Osbourne of the blues."

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Littlefield, said he thought Carty's move showed exactly why the city should shut down the venue.

"I think it's pathetic that someone would capitalize on a tragic event where nine people were shot," he said.

Dodd said the injunction would also shut down the Friday night event because the judge's order would be effective immediately.

"If [Carty] he goes into the venue with the padlock, he could be playing in jail," Dodd said.

If Carty takes the show to the street, he would have to get a permit as a "street performer," Dodd said.

NEW YEAR'S BASH

Saturday night's deejays -- Synaptic Flow and Tryezz -- are Chattanooga residents Brian Foster and Jonathon Fowlkes. Synaptic Flow is techno-based music, Foster said, while Tryezz is electronic dance music with an influence of jazz and funk, according to Fowlkes.

Fowlkes said he is a regular member of the Mosaic church, while Foster said he attends once in awhile.

CHRISTMAS EVE SHOOTING VICTIMS

The Chattanooga Police Department released the names of four adult victims from the shooting at Mosaic on Christmas Eve:

  • Thomas Armstrong, 18, shot in the left knee
  • Juane Joseph, 18, shot in the upper left leg
  • Keontae Howard, 29, shot in the left shoulder
  • Charquell Appling, 19, shot in the right thigh

Five juveniles were shot but police did not release their names. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

Source: Chattanooga Police Department

Saturday's event is supposed to be an outreach program for the church, Fowlkes said. Secular music will be played, he said, but it's a way for those within the church community to introduce outsiders to Mosaic.

"It's not really supposed to be a religious event but, at the same time, it's a way to open up to the community and the church," he said.

Some portrayals of past incidents at the church have been blown out of proportion, he said.

Foster said he got a last-minute call from a church member to fill in as a deejay. The New Year's event would host a different type of crowd than last weekend, he said.

But there still seems to be some confusion about whether it is a Christian event. Foster said he has heard some people saying that "BYOB" meant "Bring Your Own Bible," but "that's not what I was led to believe."

"I heard no one suggest it was a Christian event," he said.

Staff writer Beth Burger contributed to this story.

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328Kwebsite said...

The story stated, "Neither Reid nor Henry could be reached for comment Friday."

It was published just after midnight on Thursday. It won't be Friday for another 23+ hours. Please correct the story to reflect observable reality. Otherwise, it appears to be a prejudicial remark that doesn't belong in our city's newspaper.

Since we're on the topic of failing to observe reality, let's discuss Chief Dodd's and Mayor Littlefield's comments.

Chief Dodd has suggested, before the fact, that he is going to jail somebody for breaking into a padlocked establishment. His padlock is not even there yet. The church is still open.

I think we would all prefer it if the Chief of Police could somehow confine his imagination to considering the facts at hand instead of fantasizing about hypothetical crimes in the future.

Maybe he could fantasize about investigating crimes that have occurred. I wonder which ones his brain should be focused on right now. Let's give him nine guesses.

We have had nine of our local citizens shot. Neither the Chief of Police or the Mayor have managed to say anything intelligent in public since the incidents occurred. We encourage them to please be quiet instead of embarrassing our entire city with their poorly thought out remarks.

Focus our city on solutions to the problem at hand. We do not need the Mayor or anyone else to form a cheering section for blaming either the victims or the bystanders.

The Pastor, by the way, is among the victims. I assure you, if one of Mayor Littlefield's campaign patrons had these shootings occur on his their lands, we would not need to explain that to these ignorant politicians.

Focus the public on solutions. The Chief of Police would do well to stop shooting off at the mouth and instead start providing us with updates on the progress of investigations.

Why are we not having press conferences daily about this matter? Why have we not heard one single government official express basic human concern for the welfare of the victims?

Gentlemen, get it together. Start acting like your office.

We expect to see a public apology from both the Mayor and the Chief of Police as the opening statement on their next of what should be daily press conferences until these young people are released from the hospital.

They can try this: "I am sorry if I have said anything offensive in the past few days. Please allow me to express my heartfelt condolences to victims of crime in our city on the night of Christmas Eve. We are taking the following steps to investigate the crimes and to provide for the public safety: . . . "

Or they could achieve more than they have so far by being quiet, if they cannot think before they speak.

Man up, Mayor. And please shut up if you can't say anything intelligent about what happened.

December 29, 2011 at 12:49 a.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Mayor Littlefield should move his office to Mosaic, it would be the perfect venue for him.

December 29, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
Lr103 said...

Responding to: @"We have had nine of our local citizens shot. Neither the Chief of Police or the Mayor have managed to say anything intelligent in public since the incidents occurred"

Both the mayor and the chief are catering to the wishes of the well conncted, friends of CPD who have returned to live, work and play in the downtown vicinity. If the club's main patrons were the herioin, cocaine addicted (which is at epidemic levels in white middle-classed to wealthy communities in America) children of these well connected friends we'd all be hearing a very different tune, or no tune at all, to this song.

Those individuals didn't return from the 'burbs to downtown Chattanooga to live, work and play where they'd have to see to many dark faces and homeless on a regular basis. If some work downtown, they're usually well hidden in the kitchen of the restaurants. Out of sight out of mind.

It wouldn't be at all surprising to learned that some of these well connected weren't in cahoots with chattanooga's finest to bring about some of these problems to justify running a certain segment of Chattanooga away. It wouldn't be as if this wasn't the first time such tactics were used. sundowning. Never forget.

December 29, 2011 at 9:38 a.m.
fftspam said...

328Kwebsite: stop trying to defend what is obvious to everyone. The more you try to point the blame, the more you come off as a fool. Everybody knows the root cause of these shootings. Its not the Mayor or Chief. The more you rant the more delusional you sound. I am sorry that you have some conspiracy theory in mind. How about stop blaming others. and address the truth... how many shootings have there been in Chattanooga this year? How many involved blacks and how many have involved whites?

December 29, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
fftspam said...

Lr103 States "If the club's main patrons were the herioin, cocaine addicted (which is at epidemic levels in white middle-classed to wealthy communities in America) children of these well connected friends we'd all be hearing a very different tune, or no tune at all, to this song. " WHAT??

December 29, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.
Lr103 said...

@"The more you try to point the blame, the more you come off as a fool. Everybody knows the root cause of these shootings"

No one even knows who fired the shots, exactly. Let alone if it was gang related. They put that first story out there quickly, because they know what ever turns up later it's that first story that will stick in the minds of citizens. Even if it turns out one of their own CPD finest were involved, or some lawabiding, licensed to carry gun owner trying to make it look at if gangs are terrorizing the city. Makes you wonder about these strange cars riding up and shooting citizens while walking then disappearing seemingly into thin air, never to be heard from gain. Think back to early 1900s Chattanooga. Check out the history and climate during that time that led to the lynching of an innocent on the Walnut Street Bridge. Not that that was the only lynching to take place in Chattanooga. There were several, actually. Different day. Same story of *history repeating itself, because no one ever listens!

December 29, 2011 at 9:47 a.m.
fftspam said...

Lr103 : You state that white middle-classed to wealthy communities in America are herioin (sic), cocaine addicted ??? What?? Prove it. You are a fool. Stop trying to defend what is obvious.

December 29, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
fftspam said...

Lr103, I am sorry you are so racist. This is not 1900, this is 2011. Last time I checked we have a black President.

December 29, 2011 at 9:53 a.m.

Hmm, I'd suggest checking the admissions at private substance abuse clinics if you want to get an idea of the level of illicit drug use for the rich.

It's certainly not a non-existent problem.

December 29, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
fftspam said...

Lr103 states : "Makes you wonder about these strange cars riding up and shooting citizens while walking then disappearing seemingly into thin air, never to be heard from gain."

WOW maybe these citizens that disappeared were actually scooped up by flying saucers?

December 29, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

328k-if you were not standing at said press conference than I think you need a reality pill. Media sensationalism is as much as fault as the men quoted. The media ask questions, but do not publish everything that is said. They get to pick & choose what they publish & for what? Create outrage or sympathy or whatever emotion they are targeting for that specific written piece.
In fact it is words chosen carefully to ignite responses from people hiding behind a computer. The newspaper media are out to get a rise from people like you and me or otherwise their jobs might go away. Don't you think they sit back & have weekly celebrations on which article (journalist) gets the most comments from their newsworthy articles? You just fed into it & so did I. Although I do not care for our current Mayor for MANY reasons, and others in some of the higher elected positions; I do not base my opinions on what is put in the media. I base my opinions on what is proven in how they carry out their positions (decisions that are documented). Do I think Mr. Reid is totally responsible–No. Do I think he is reaching out to a lost group of youth that need direction from someone-YES. Does he need to change some aspects of how is doing this-once again YES. Does he need to continue to try to reach this group of youth who have no direction-most definitely! And I think other community leaders should join the effort. We have a whole generation who will be the leaders one day and a huge majority of them have no guidance or direction and finally no discipline to achieve better things for themselves and those they care about. Do I think the police need to be more involved in Mosaic events-oh yes! Do I hold them responsible for troubled youth who think violence is the only way of life-NO! The police are no more responsible than Mr. Reid. The problem is Mr. Reid provided the assembly place with no measures of control. Having only 2 real police officers there for an event that is more than likely to get out of control is crazy! Police are at every sports event in the area - even HS ball games (the host school is required to provide security)! If a previous game had issues-they bring more officers for the next time the 2 teams meet. Common sense.
Mr. Reid should use some common sense on HUGE events such as what happened on Christmas Eve and for New Year's Eve-hire more security-or at least bring in more at the time of closing to ensure his youth's safety upon leaving his event. Closing an event just 15 minutes before curfew-now that is just plain crazy. He expects teens to rush home within 15 minutes-common sense should prevail. BYOB-other refreshments provided does NOT mean bring your own bible otherwise it wouldn't follow with other refreshments. BYOB is known by all ages as beer! And it doesn't even matter (well actually it does) that this is a church sponsored event-alcohol for underage youth should never be condoned! You are just asking for trouble.

December 29, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

LR103 - are you claiming we do not have a gang problem in the city? And are you also claiming that the violence (I am not talking drugs) in the city is not mostly black on black crime? You realize it is the ones who were shot or the witnesses who claim they saw noone! They are the ones covering up for their own or wanting to seek their own revenge. If they would just talk about the problem - then maybe just maybe the police can do what they are paid to do - bring the bad guys to justice. And then let the judicial system send them back out to start the whole cycle again.

December 29, 2011 at 10:08 a.m.
fftspam said...

happywithnewbulbs said... "Hmm, I'd suggest checking the admissions at private substance abuse clinics if you want to get an idea of the level of illicit drug use for the rich." You obviously do not get the point.. when was the last time illicit drug using heroin and coke using rich white people shot nine people outside a club in Chattanooga Tn?

December 29, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.
Lr103 said...

@"fftspam said... Lr103, I am sorry you are so racist. This is not 1900, this is 2011

And there's really not much of a difference between 1900 and 2011 Chattanooga. That's the points. The same tactics used then are being used now to promote segregating a certain part of the city to make way for a certain segment of Chattanooga's population.

December 29, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.
Lr103 said...

@You obviously do not get the point.. when was the last time illicit drug using heroin and coke using rich white people shot nine people outside a club in Chattanooga Tn?

They usually shoot up and kill fellow family members instead. Then chop up their bodies to hide the evidence.

December 29, 2011 at 10:12 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

lr103 - the segregating is mainly coming from the black community itself! They are segregating themselves and then people like you try to blame the white.

December 29, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
Lr103 said...

fftspam said... Lr103 : You state that white middle-classed to wealthy communities in America are herioin (sic), cocaine addicted ??? What?? Prove it. You are a fool. Stop trying to defend what is obvious

And you should stop trying to ignore the obvious. heroin addictions (especially) and cocaine are @ epidemic levels among middle, upper-middled-classed and wealthy white America. Do you really believe all those substance abuse clinics cropped up all over America to treat the lower income whites and blacks? The business of substance abuse treatment centers is a boom! And it isn't poor whites and blacks they cater to.

December 29, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
fftspam said...

You can rent Tim Reid's Fathom Church and hire a caterer to sell beer and alcohol.

December 29, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
Lr103 said...

hrtofluv said... LR103 - are you claiming we do not have a gang problem in the city? And are you also claiming that the violence (I am not talking drugs) in the city is not mostly black on black crime

OH! Chattanooga does have a problem. It's just not all what it being played up to be. There's more to this than gang. Don't let it take another 100+ years, when we're all dead and gone, for some future generation to come along and figure it all out.

December 29, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

fftspam - then Mr. Reid should make it part of his standard contract that security (real officers) be hired for during and after each event where alcohol is offered. And that underage youth are not served.

December 29, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

lr103 - if you have it all figured out - offer your suggestions to Mr. Hightower as an article to publish. 1st - let's see what he actually publishes and if it truly conveys what you meant. 2nd - let's see if your ideas can spark some real change from this community - I sure hope it can - Chattanooga can be great if the right people can get it under control before it's too late! And a bit of advice - leave the usual segregation and ethnic crap out of the solution and more people will listen.

December 29, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
fftspam said...

Can any of the idiots defending this place actually prove any success story? I doubt it.

December 29, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
fftspam said...

Lr103 and 328Kwebsite.. have you ever been downtown? Do you know where this place is?

December 29, 2011 at 10:44 a.m.
holdout said...

The words of the chief were in reply to a question from the media. Had he not answered he would be accused of withholding info. Maybe there are drug problems at every level of society and in every race but that is not the issue. The issue is the shooting of people on the streets of Chattanooga. And the people who were shot were not all silent about it. There were numerous witnesses to what happened and guess what? It wasn't middle class white cocaine addicts. It wasn't the CPD. It wasn't middle aged white permit holders. It was black males. Not every black youth in Chattanooga is a thug. Very few are. The shooters Christmas morning were. It was black on black gang violence with a lot of innocent bystanders hit. Keep on making excuses while they slaughter each other. Keep on making up wild conspiracy theories about some Chattanooga Illuminati working for the rich real estate developers. Keep on blaming and accusing everyone who tries to fix the problem while you do nothing but spout illogical claptrap. Now tell me how racist I am because I don't need a weatherman to tell me which way the wind is blowing.

December 29, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.
PacoBongers said...

On the subject of BYOB:

Jesus turned water into wine. As a party trick.

"Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests have become drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!" Source: The Bible

Note the word "drunk." We ain't talkin' about grape juice, here. We're talking party liquor.

December 29, 2011 at 1 p.m.

ffspam: Again, you can go to those clinics and ask them what harm they've done. I would not limit your inquiries to incidents in Chattanooga, TN though, since the problem isn't all local.

hrtofluv: I don't think Mr. Reid needs to worry about the serving of underage persons, anybody with a license to serve liquor should already be under that restriction. Hiring security, well, I'd hope they were already required to do so by their insurance.

December 29, 2011 at 1:36 p.m.
aex7 said...

@Lr103 wake up. I dont see how anyone's drug use matters in this incident. Its a "church" serving alcohol to minors.

but anyway

Nine people were shot and this is not the only shooting that has happened there. How many more people have to be injured for people to realize that gang problem is out of hand

Padlock the doors and move on. shutting down one club wont solve this city's gang problems but its a good step.

December 29, 2011 at 4:52 p.m.
lookinfour said...

328Kwebsite and Lr103...that's it do what you do best. Blame the police, mayor, and everyone else for the problems. Push the blame onto everyone else. Accept no responsibility. Go ahead and say it. It was that (white) Chief of Police that got those nine people shot. It was that (white) mayor who shot those nine people. It was those downtown (white) wealthy people who pulled that trigger. That is what you're best at doing. Blame everyone else. Doesn't work. Fact is this is just one more, seems like daily, incident of black on black crime. Again, shut the place down now.

December 29, 2011 at 5:59 p.m.
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