Rapper Killer Mike told the Atlanta City Council Public Safety Committee that proposed legislation to close a “nuisance” business for up to one year was “punitive.” (City of Atlanta)

Rapper Killer Mike says an Atlanta initiative to temporarily shut down businesses considered a “nuisance” would hurt mostly small, Black-owned businesses including nightclubs where some of the top hip-hop and rap entertainers got their starts, according to the AJC.

Killer Mike, whose actual name is Michael Render, spoke during public comment at the City Council’s May 9 public safety committee. The council is considering legislation supported by Mayor Andre Dickens that would authorize a municipal court judge to close a “nuisance” business for up to up to 12 months. A business is deemed a nuisances after numerous crime or code violations

Render is an entrepreneur, activist and owns a trio of Atlanta barbershops, named the Swag Shop. He and several nightclub owners spoke out against the legislation at the committee meeting. The committee agreed to hold a work session before taking a vote on the proposal.

“I’m not here as a rapper who wants his way. I’m here as a small and local businessman saying we can figure out a better way than this punitive display,” Render said, according to the AJC.

Councilmember Dustin Hollis said the legislation does not apply only to strip clubs, nightclubs or other nightlife establishments. A gas station or a house or other building where multiple crime or code infractions take place could be deemed a nuisance, he said.

Dickens announced last month the formation of a new nightlife division to address high-crime venues.

Last month, Encore Hookah Bar & Bistro on Luckie Street in Downtown closed after a series of violent crimes prompted the city to label it a “nuisance property” and the building’s owner moved to evict the nightclub. The most recent incident was the shooting death of a security guard at the location in February.

Former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attempted to address nuisance properties with an administrative order to form a “cross-departmental working group to streamline the city’s response to nuisance properties or activities that are a threat to public safety or may contribute to the commission of violent crimes.” She also formed an Anti-Violence Advisory Council that recommended boosting the budget for the city’s license and permit department to handle more nuisance cases.

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Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.