The Tuscaloosa City Council has voted to revoke the business license of a hookah lounge where a security officer beat and fatally shot a patron last month.

As the Thread previously reported, the CRU lounge opened on Highway 69 South last summer and, on the morning of January 21st, was the site of a deadly shooting.

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Just four of the seven city council members attended the Tuesday night meeting - council president Kip Tyner is mourning the traffic death of his brother earlier Tuesday morning, and council members Raevan Howard and Norman Crow were also absent.

The remaining officials heard from city attorney Scott Holmes, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley, and Captain Marty Sellers of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit as they described how Rashid Little was beaten by Aaron Hill and other security staff working at CRU Lounge that morning, then taken to the parking lot where Hill fatally shot him.

CRU was represented by attorney Cam Parsons, who interviewed owners and managers and tried to make a case that they were not responsible for the killing - that CRU does not directly employ security guards, but gives the work to private contractors. They said Hill was working for a company called Grizzly Security, reportedly the third group CRU has tried to work with since opening last summer, and they could not have known what was going to happen.

"Neither of the two employees who were there could have done anything to have prevented the killing which happened in a matter of seconds," Parsons said.

Parsons said Rashid Little spit on Aaron Hill in the parking lot after he was beaten, and that the guard immediately drew a handgun and killed him for it. Parsons and CRU management called the shooting a tragedy and offered condolences to the members of Hill's family who attended the hearing, but asked the council to let the lounge stay open and continue to employ the staff who work there.

"I'm here unfortunately because a man lost his life and he did not deserve to lose his life," said Deandre Dixon, a manager at CRU who said he lives in Northport. "Unfortunately, through the actions of someone else, there's livelihoods that's being affected here as well."

Andrea Campbell, another manager, spoke and self-identified as a member of the LGBTQ community, which is only noted here because the victim, Little, was gay, and some have said he was beaten and killed for his sexuality, calling the murder a hate crime.

Those arguments could not outweigh other elements of the highly emotional hearing, though. The council watched surveillance footage that showed the music still playing as Hill was beaten by three security guards inside the club for at least two minutes.

They also heard from Little's grandmother and his aunt, who spent the two minutes they were allotted describing the void left in his absence and tearfully begging the council to close the club down.

"The security did shoot him, but the club managers should have deactivated the music, stopped everything and got the police there to fix this problem [after the beating,] said Mary Walker, the victim's aunt. "I will never see my nephew again, I'm just shook up! I want y'all to close it down. Close it down! Close it down!"

His grandmother, Cora Stephens, described Rashid Little as a sensitive, caring grandson who loved to cook and dreamed of sewing his way into the fashion industry. She said she is haunted by visions of him being stomped on inside CRU Lounge.

"My grandson won't even come back home anymore," Stephens said.

After around 90 minutes of the public hearing, the four council members who were presented - Matthew Wilson, Lee Busby, John Faile and Cassius Lanier - all voted unanimously to revoke CRU's business license.

The meeting adjourned shortly after. This is a developing story and will be updated with quotes from the hearing.

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