SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A Shreveport liquor store owner is fighting back against the city.
On Tuesday night, the City Council revoked the liquor license for Riteway Liquor Store .
Council members cited two homicides and dozens of police calls for service there over the past two years.
But the store was open Wednesday.
Emergency and law enforcement lights lit up the night outside the liquor store in the 1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on Oct. 23, 2018.
They were responding to a call of gunfire that ultimately claimed the life of 39-year-old Jeremiah Davenport, of Shreveport.
A little more than a year later came another homicide at the same location.
Killed in that shooting Nov. 6, 2019, was 30-year-old Cartez Woods.
And that started a neighborhood movement inspired by Davenport’s cousin Antoinette Davenport.
She helped start a petition drive to have the liquor store closed because of the homicides and the dozens of calls for police that ranged from shootings to drug arrests and more.
Antoinette Davenport addressed council members Tuesday, explaining her support for revoking Riteway’s liquor license.
“It’s a hangout spot, involves a lot of unhealthy state (sic) and just unruly behaviors at the location in itself. And myself and Stephanie have been working hand in hand to create a better environment for the Cooper Road community.”
A number of other people also stepped forward in support of the City Council’s unanimous vote to revoke Riteway’s liquor license.
“The place needs to be shut down," Marvin Muhammad said. "Let’s just be clear, we had two young black males that was killed, murdered in that parking lot.”
Council members also voted unanimously to suspend use of the property for a year.
Riteway’s owner and tenant each had their lawyers present.
They contend that it is unfair to hold the owner legally responsible for crimes committed by others and not under his control.
They also claimed there are many business owners throughout the city who could be subject to the same penalty provisions if that’s the standard.
But citing the violence at the site, Muhammad sees the issue much differently. “Riteway Liquor is nothing more, has been nothing more than a house of death for the MLK community.”
The attorneys have said they plan to file an appeal in Caddo District Court in the coming days.
Many people asked that if this was something the police chief informed the City Council about in March, why is it only now that the council was voting on Riteway’s liquor license.
The reason? The council pushed the issue forward in the calendar after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now six months later, Antoinette Davenport described what this means to her.
“I’ve definitely been overjoyed. But I’ve been in such a sense of awe because this is just, it’s more than the closing of a liquor store. For me, it marks the beginning of a better community. And that’s what I’m striving and fighting for; and we have several plans in action to do just that.”