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Police, Community Concerned With Crime Near Nightclub

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the second straight night, there was violence outside a Minneapolis nightclub.

Police say a woman stabbed another woman, while they were fighting outside Karma on First Avenue.

Officials say the women knew each other prior to the fight. One woman was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

The other woman was arrested near the scene of the incident.

A shooting also occurred outside of Karma Saturday morning.

Jamaal Brown, 23, was shot in the chest and taken to HCMC with critical injuries. No arrests have been made but police don’t believe the shooting was random.

Police say despite these incidents, the Warehouse District has actually seen a 7-percent drop in violent crime over the last year.

Still, there are plenty concerns regarding the safety around the club.

In the daylight, all is calm at Karma Nightclub. But when the sun goes down, it can be a much different scene.

“There’s a bit of a safety issue where you feel uncomfortable walking down the street,” said Rebekah Mogck, a bartender at The Ugly Mug in Minneapolis.

For the last five years, Mogck has bartended just down the street from Karma and has had a front-row seat to the late-night problems.

“There’s usually some weekly issue of somewhere (by the club), not as bad, nothing that violent,” said Mogck.

Police arrested a woman Sunday morning after a fight led to a stabbing. Detectives are also looking for person who shot a man the day before.

“It’s weird to hear it that close, but not the first gunshots I’ve heard down here,” said Mogck.

V.J. Smith, of Minnesota Mad Dads, a group promoting non-violence, said the combination of factors in these situations can be dangerous.

“When you mix an angry person with alcohol and drugs, you don’t know when it’s going to explode,” he said.

Over the last year, there have been more than 100 police calls to Karma. The nature of each call wasn’t available.

This weekend’s violence happened despite a police presence.  Permanent cameras are mounted just a block away, and police even stationed their portable camera across the street.

“When you walk down the street you always see cop cars parked on the street. They block off First most nights,” said Mogck.

Still, it might not be enough.

“Maybe there’s some things we could do, maybe there’s some stuff we can do that can help,” Smith said.

Smith said he wonders if the club’s owner is ready for a change in the club’s reputation.

“He’s gotta figure out if he wants the club to stay open or does he want to change clientele,” said Mogck.

Police are now considering working with other city departments, like licensing, to deal with the ongoing issues at Karma.

Contact was made to the owner and management, but neither returned calls.

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