Rave On? Not Likely as City Appeal Board Puts Afterlife to Death Following Riveting Hearing.

Categories: City Hall, Crime

PoliceatAfterlifehearing.JPG
Photos by Anna Merlan
Undercover narcotics officers testified today at City Hall that they easily bought drugs at Afterlife, the so-called "Golden Corral of buffet dealing."
In mid-October we predicted that the hearing before the Permit and License Appeal Board over whether the club Afterlife should have its dancehall license revoked  would probably be the most exciting thing that's come before the board in a very long time. In hindsight, that was probably an understatement.

At the conclusion of today's six-hour hearing, the board voted unanimously to uphold Dallas Police Chief David Brown's revocation of its license after he said the club's owner and/or his employees "knowingly allowed the possession, use, or sale of controlled substances on the premises." Long story short: The club is closed effective right now, pending any legal appeals from club owner Mark Annis.

The riveting, sometimes strange day of testimony included statements from three narcotics officers, all of whom wore ninja-like hoods to conceal their appearances. Defense attorney Arthur Selander tried to portray Annis as a responsible business owner who did his best with the tricky task of keeping ecstasy out of the club. Meanwhile, Assistant City Attorney Melissa Miles used the officers' testimony to paint the club as "the modern equivalent of an opium den."

It became clear that while Afterlife was among the first clubs to be shuttered due to drug use and drug sales on its property, it probably won't be the last. The narcotics officers said they had targeted the club as just one piece of an ongoing investigation, already underway when Grandview 19-year-old Matthew Allen died two hours after leaving the club, where he was allegedly sold ecstasy by Skyler Brandt, also 19.

MarkAnnis.jpg
Afterlife club owner Mark Annis, in green
The hearing began around the hour of the day when a good night out would be drifting towards a morning at Waffle House. There was virtually no audience, apart from four members of the press and Afterlife's manager, Josh Cavanaugh, who arrived with Annis and sat through the entire day. From the start, Miles argued that the 17-and-up club's entire business model invited the use of ecstasy, with plush couches, light shows and exorbitantly priced beverages (though no booze) for the chemically dehydrated. First, though, she had to explain ecstasy and "rave culture" to the board, who apparently missed the '90s entirely.

"There are terms I want you to understand," Miles told the board. "Rolling," she explained, means "under the influence of ecstasy," while a rave "is commonly understood to be a party" surrounding the use of ecstasy. "I need you to understand what it's like to be rolling in order to understand exactly why the club is set up the way it's set up," she added.

The three hooded narcotics detectives said they visited the club three times over a period of three weekends, with two of them buying drugs on four different occasions and one of them providing backup. All of the officers testified that ecstasy dealers at the club were incredibly blatant, selling tabs as well as molly (powdered MDMA) openly on the club's back patio. "This is like the Golden Corral of buffet dealing," one officer told the board. "Anyone can come and be served."

Another agreed, saying, "This was not just a club. It was an open-air, free-for-all drug-trading den. It was kind of alarming because it was so blatant." He said when he bought drugs from a female dealer she pulled out tabs of ecstasy "plain as day" from her bra, then deposited his cash in the same spot. All three officers reported seeing lots of people who looked like they were under the influence of ecstasy; they all estimated, somehow, that "80 to 90 percent" of the patrons looked like they were high.

Selander pointed out that electronic music, light shows, plush couches and $3 bottles of water aren't illegal, and, what's more, that the club has had its dancehall license for six years without incident.

"Afterlife is not an outlaw organization," he said. "It doesn't operate under the radar of the city of Dallas. It has never operated under the radar." He said that without administering blood or breath tests to club patrons, the officers couldn't prove they were high, or that they'd gotten their drugs from the club even if they were. Drug dealers and users, he said, are covert, and "conceal their activities by almost any means." He also objected to Miles and the narcotics detectives repeatedly linking Afterlife with Darkside, the not-church that was shut down back in August, along with porno-playground The Playhouse.

Selander was also obviously frustrated by what the board chair called the "quasi-judicial" nature of the proceedings. He objected to the introduction of police reports into evidence when the officers who wrote the reports weren't there for him to cross-examine. Miles told him that he had been welcome to call the reporting officers to the hearing, to which he retorted that he had no subpoena power to compel them to come. Unlike a criminal trial, all the witnesses were allowed to stay in the room and listen to each other's testimony.

When it came time for him to testify, Annis -- soft-spoken, wearing a green polo shirt and looking rather sad -- told the board that he's been a licensed insurance agent since 1987. But he started DJ'ing in various clubs around Dallas and Fort Worth around 2000, and got his dancehall permit for Afterlife in 2006. He flatly rejected the idea that he had knowingly allowed drugs to be sold, possessed or consumed on his property, and said that he and his staff had strict policies about searching and questioning anyone they felt was acting suspicious.

"We take steps above and beyond similar clubs," he said. The packet he and his attorney submitted to the board also contained their "ban list," the people who have been permanently or temporarily barred from the club. Skyler Brant was on that list three weeks before she was arrested and charged in Allen's death.

In a sharp cross-examination, Miles challenged Annis to explain why there were no records showing that the club had ever called DPD to pick up seized narcotics, and no record that the club has ever called an ambulance to pick up sick or intoxicated patrons.

"DPD from the inception of this club has always taken a negative attitude towards us," Annis replied. He said that anything given to police probably would have been "twisted around" to make the club look bad; he also alleged that DPD may have held a grudge against him for declining to hire off-duty officers to work at the club when it first opened. When Miles pressed him on citations he'd received before 2006 for running a dancehall with no permit, Annis pointed out that all eight of those tickets were ultimately dismissed. He added that he was still arrested twice in the space of two weeks in 2005 over the matter.

But it was clear from their questions that the board members were concerned about the club's security and the youth of its clientele. When it came time for a motion, they quickly and unanimously upheld DPD's revocation.

After the hearing, Annis and Cavanaugh looked grim, if not exactly surprised. "I guess we are a little disappointed," Annis said when asked for a reaction. He said it's possible Afterlife may file an injunction against the city in state appeals court, though they haven't submitted anything yet.

Annis told Unfair Park that this is part of a longer pattern of the police department and the city trying to smear him and his club. "It's no coincidence they released the license revocation," he said, the same day that they announced Brant had been arrested; he feels that was a move designed to link the two in the public's mind. Leaving the hearing room, he told us, "They just want to make us look really bad."


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
46 comments
pdcgimpy
pdcgimpy

80 to 90 percent of people show up have a good time and 1 kid overdoses.....thanks for being the moral authority.

Alekz
Alekz

If anything the club should have been closed down for the unsanitary conditions it provided (mostly in the restrooms).  Any patron in attendance had the option to leave, even with a refund, if they did not find the club enjoyable.  You either went to Life for music, drugs or to see what it was like. An establishment should not be held responsible for the decisions made by the costumer.  A bar can advice you not to drink and drive, but at the end of the day ...the choice solely belongs to that of the consumer.

Richard Storm
Richard Storm

If this would have been a hip hop club, where random shootings and drug deals happen on a regular basis, this would have never been an issue and the license would have never been revoked.  But since it's a club that plays electronic music, we better get the priests to put an exorcism on the whole club!  The hypocrisy of it all makes me wanna laugh and vomit at the same time...Point being?  The Permit and License Appeal Board are a bunch of overpaid retards.  So is anyone who cringes at the word rave and techno club.     

BS-Filter
BS-Filter

The only thing funnier than the owner's claim that they're somehow protecting kids is the claim by talent-free DJs that somehow this is "about the music."

Those statements are nothing more than lame protestations from parties who have a financial interest in the outcome.

The sad comments come from the kids, whose maturity is not yet locked in enough to understand that they're being exploited.  They're the innocents in this situation.

Someone who is "all about the music" and "kids" is generally trying to teach kids to PLAY and CREATE music...not to be drugged zombies.  Kudos to Melissa Miles and the City Attorney's Office for cutting through the BS of this situation.

Try "The Grandada" or "The Kessler" for situations which are about music.

Violet_Lena
Violet_Lena

Afterlife is a safe place. The crew watch for people who look sick. They're friendly and I've never felt unsafe there. What kind of crime is having comfy couches? Preposterous! I never see anyone selling drugs, much less trading them blatantly. If people are on drugs it doesn't automatically mean they got them there. This trial was the result of a bunch of archaic minded people hating what they can not possibly understand.

Househead
Househead

So we closed one club - what about all the others?  Are we just going after this one because of his age and he passed away?  What about Insomnia? It is a drug haven - I am sure the line at 4am means kids are just waking up early and putting on their tutus and going to a club.  On another note, drugs are at ALL clubs, no matter what music.  You can go two-stepping and hear the girl in the next stall sniffing coke up her nose.  

Trinity_boy
Trinity_boy

I’ve been to Afterlife, years ago mind you, andeverything stated in this article is absolutely true. I’ll go further and statewithout any reservation that the staff was in on the dealing! I watched themtarget certain dealers and kick them out while letting others deal out in theopen. There is always a reason for selective enforcement of “rules” and usuallythat means the staff is on the take or are actually behind the dealing to beginwith. There was no subtlety to any of it. I’ve also seen the staff do the drugsas well, specifically participating in pot circles. And by the way, I neveronce showed my ID to get into that place.

Doug
Doug

So..ultimately...was the "Annis" on him?

Ex-XO
Ex-XO

Okay look that guy said all this BS because he had to, he can't just stand up there and say "Yeahhh well why you guys trippin it's just X of course people are takin it heree duhh why else would we have techno and light shows to trip your fuckin balls off to!!??"

So quit acting like it was sooo innocent and sooo wrong of the police. As much as I enjoyed my time raving and rolling from the age of 15-19, I wish places like this hadn't existed because I never would have gone so far deep into the whole scene. It's a really dark lifestyle, honestly. You meet people you would normally NEVER associate yourself with, do things you would normally NEVER try...move on from one drug to the next, harder drug...and get ADDICTED.

Afterlife let me in the club when I was FIFTEEN YEARS OLDDDD!! To little suburban kids like me, this was something worth sneakin out of your house and poppin XO's for. Driving under the influence of ecstasy, at 4-8 am...in the dirty ass part of Dallas. You know everyone there was doin it!!

So thank you, DUMBASS police force, for finally fucking using your brain and busting little shitholes like this. You've raided it before and let it go on, and then what happened? A 19 year old died from getting tabs at the club.

I'm just saying....INSOMNIA...is wayyy more rampant with ECTASY! Ask every person you're dancing next to they know where to get it... Oh wait..and so do the guys working SECURITY!! In-house dealers, working strictly for the club, making them a HUGE profit, by confiscating dealers' tabs, kicking them out, and re-selling the drugs themselves! Smart right? The hilaaaarious thing is, there's a retard cop standing out front...at all times...working with the security. I'm sure he's getting paid off!

PLUR BITCHES. hahah.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Have a kid from the Sub Sub Suburbs die in your establishment and this is what will happen to ya .

Sadly thanks to DRUG Tests and the inability of my body to mutate to handle the Flipping potency Hawaiian POT I left the Scene long before most of you were  Born.

Drugs are every where .And it is a credit to those who serve that market that you don't see the drug deals go down.They are upholding the long tradition of contraband vendors through out the ages !

 

music is my life
music is my life

To hulon your dumb....rap and othrr clubs r worser than afterlife....im a regular and i do agree that they tried their best....its those young imature hipster/posers that dnt know wat our music really is about...and bring thier idiotic rap and bad vibes to the our scene....i say stay away from ourcscene to all of you young hipsters/posers and bad vibes...let us enjoy our music the way we express it and dance to it...well love our music our EDM scene...well live to be free and happy...

Brian Adams
Brian Adams

Great now we can all do it in an unsupervised & unsafe environment with no security and no one looking after human life...

Hulon Pate
Hulon Pate

I am so glad Rock music and Rap Music do not have the same kind of negative drug scenes with in........those   circles...............wait...:(          

Joshhays1986
Joshhays1986

afterlife helped me through a hard time in my life.Everyone was a family and cared for eachother.every club and bar in dallas you cdan get drugs from.stop picking on business owners.they follow the laws pay their taxes.

Guest
Guest

This really is sad... I believe it is the people who have given the club a bad name. It shouldn't be the club's fault for an individual doing drugs of their own free will. I've been there a lot and I have seen the searches and people getting thrown out of the club for selling drugs. Also how they take care of the people who do get caught up in the drugs. In no way is it a "buffet of drugs." The club stands for something good and righteous. It keeps kids off the street and away from guns and gangs, it was all about the music. It was a place where we could all go and dance and not feel the stresses of the world, it's a shame that the streets leaked in and poisoned an innocent life. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

What about the Clubs that sell Booze and ........

Never Mind.

Cuecat
Cuecat

This is great news for Club Zouk near the West End. The crowd from Afterlife will feel at home  there.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I've been there before, it was really quite amazing, I don't think I saw anyone but some of the DJs or an employee besides myself or my friend that weren't drugged out of their minds. I wanted out of there a.s.a.p. because I was honestly afraid there was going to be a drug raid and I didn't want to have to explain why I was hanging in what appeared to be a drug den.

Cole francisco
Cole francisco

Just a typo Gabe, but still kids are too stupid to be going to these places and then driving home...Insomnia should be next.

Gabe
Gabe

Triple LLL in headline. 

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

You're missing the point. The SOLE purpose of these clubs is to take E. People who say "it's all about the music" are right - the music makes you roll harder and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.

Househead
Househead

Again, it is not EDM making people take drugs - it is the people.  If it is young kids - it is the parent's responsibility to know what their kids are doing.  The Police should truly "crack" down and get the distributors of these illegal substances - then we could all listen to whatever music we choose with out being ridiculed.  Oh but that may take away money from the city right.

guest
guest

I am sexy and I know it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Regardless of the right or wrong of the club manager, the club did not 'get you into XTC or provide you with a gateway to harder drugs.  You can blame that on incompetent parenting, shitty choice for friends and acquaintances, and your own piss poor lifestyle choices.Teenagers have, for decades, been doing stupid things.  It's part of growing up, part of the rebellion against the parents' generation.  Some of them grow out of it rather quickly, some get stuck in the rut for years, and some die.  If Afterlife wasn't there, he would have got the tab from someone else, in a different bar/club.

Some MotherF**ker's always trying to ice skate uphill.

Guest
Guest

I have worked the door, and know other people who worked the door, and we never let underage people in the club to our knowledge,  If you were underage and got in,  that was your own doing.  No one forced drugs down your throat,  no one forced you to continue.  So stop laying the blame on a club and learn to take responsibility for your own actions...

And you would have probably still gone down the path you went,  your actions and addictions are not the blame of a place, but the blame of your addictions...  An Alcoholic can't blame the bar for being there,  if they crave alcohol they will find it,  even drink rubbing alcohol or shoe polish to get a fix.  Blaming the bar or the liquor store is just a cop out...

cp
cp

Wow. Is this truly what the future holds? 

Hulon Pate
Hulon Pate

I  have played Afterlife  as a featured guest dj.  It was an Ironic Comment.    

Ex-XO
Ex-XO

...because Afterlife was so safe and so well supervised.

Guest
Guest

Are you KIDDING!?!? It doesn't really stand for anything good. Unless you have a true passion for electronic music and have vowed to be sober your entire life...you're up to no good there. Afterlife is what started me into my rolling phase along with many other people I know...This is because it's the first rave club you can get into before you're 17...yes they let THREE 15 year olds in on the same 18 year old's id...and let me in on my 16 year old id. Since I was so young and didn't know any better, and thought it was AWESOME. because i got to sneak out, do drugs, and be in a CRAZY ass environment. Then, when I was offered to do it more, I kept on doin it, moving up to other clubs...and eventually I got out of it and am thankful I don't live that regrettable lifestyle anymore.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Editor fail. The item has been rectified. Thanks for that heads-up.

Gabe
Gabe

Krishnamurti teaches to pick and move rocks from the street as we walk, not because we might trip, or that even others might trip, but because we have love for everything, including the street itself. That's why I point out typos - to have a care for Quality itself, beyond the mere utility it provides.

pdcgimpy
pdcgimpy

Its a free country isnt?  Whats the difference between someone going to a bar to get blindfaced drunk?

Mwootto
Mwootto

Brian does have a point. It's safer than a few kids at home by themselves.

Violet_Lena
Violet_Lena

Yeh loser, blame a club for your own drug use. Way to take responsibility for your own decisions.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I'll even say it backward.  WOW.

ChuckE
ChuckE

Is there a reason you never use the club owners first name? Or does he just go by Annis? It is very distracting to keep looking back in the article to see if I missed it.

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

Yes it's a free country and I never said there's anything wrong with rolling your brains out, if that's your thing. Problem is alcohol is legal and E isn't.

Gabe
Gabe

upside down it would be MOM. 

Darren Schmits
Darren Schmits

First name is used in the first reference, or "utterance", of a person; after that, last name is used.

HolySheets
HolySheets

Hint. 1) Last two words in second paragraph. 2) look under second picture. 3) full name is first in full name style-then last name

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Second paragraph. Last sentence. Then the last name alone is used in every subsequent reference. Per AP style. Unlike all these sentence fragments I've got going on here.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...