Thursday, October 13, 2011
7 News Investigations: Risky & Risque?
A Pompano Beach club popular with young teens is under fire tonight after 7 News exposes what's really going on there. In a 7 news exclusive investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero reveals why it may be "Risky and Risque."
WSVN -- The youngsters start lining up well before Club Cinema opens its doors in Pompano Beach. On this Saturday night, they've come to an event with no age restrictions and a closing time of 4 a.m.
Girls are wearing what looks like underwear leaving little to the imagination. In the parking lots around the club kids carry beer and glasses of what looks like liquor.
Inside wall to wall kids dance to pulsating music and images and laser lights. Police say the flashing finger lights and wide eyed stares are classic signs of ecstasy use.
As the night progresses, kids stumble out of the club. They throw up near the front door, they pass out just a few feet away and struggle to breathe sitting on the curb. The worst of the worst get taken away in an ambulance.
BSO Sgt: "And it was shocking even for me, a law enforcement officer."
BSO Sgt: "To me they were no older than 13 to 14 and 15."
BSO Sgt: "Me or my team have not been there one night and have not made multiple arrests."
This BSO Sergeant sometimes works undercover so we are not showing his face. He says they have made drug arrests in and around the club for ecstasy. They have also found cocaine in homemade pills that were being sold as ecstasy.
BSO Sgt: "And so these kids are actually not even taking the drugs, they think they're taking. They're taking something that's much more potent and much more dangerous and it's all mixed together."
Despite all that, the club's entertainment manager insists it is a safe place for children.
Cory Weisman: "We operate under the guise of the law. We operate under everything that is morally and legally correct for the safety of the children as if they were our own."
The club says it rents out the space to promoters and makes sure security is tight when there are underage events. Cory Weisman says if there's a problem it is not the club's fault.
Cory Weisman: "I certainly have seen arrests being made, but Club Cinema has nothing to do with those actions of those children. Those children get upbrought by their parents and that starts at home."
According to recent arrest reports at club cinema, a 15-year-old from Davie was selling ecstasy. A 16-year-old from Miami was selling cocaine in the club, and a 17-year-old from Parkland was selling ecstasy and cocaine also in the club.
In the last six months, BSO has responded to Club Cinema 48 times, and of 20 cases where rescue was called. Half involved children under 18 who told emergency workers they had not told their parents where they were going.
This woman's 15-year-old son was one of them.
Mom: "And they said a little bit more and your son could have stopped breathing."
To hide his identity we're hiding her's.
Mom: "They found him in the back of the club, unconscious completely."
She says her son told her when he got sick no one would help him, but that's not how the club sees things.
Cory Weisman: "They definitely don't get allowed into the facility if they seem to be doing anything illicit."
Cory Weisman: "This is a place for them to come and be safe."
The City of Pompano Beach isn't so sure.
Sandra King: "We need to decide if there is a problem, which we realize there is we need to find a legal solution to make sure it stops."
Area residents are also disturbed by the way young girls are dressing.
Carmel Cafiero: "You went by Club Cinema one night. What did you think about what you saw?"
Tim Stallings: "Well, I was heading home, and I noticed a lot of people standing in front of the Cinema, and anybody with half a brain that's seen five minutes of what I've seen should agree that it is wrong and should not be allowed, period."
And on underage nights, Club Cinema is attracting youngsters half dressed and high.