The Lafayette City-Parish Council, following more than two and a half hours of discussion Tuesday, tabled a vote on whether to impose a two-year liquor license revocation against downtown night club Karma, a move that would have effectively shuttered the business for good.

The license suspension, which can be appealed in district court, stems from a bartender at the club being cited for serving alcohol without a bar card. The more serious matter — 12 points assessed against the club this spring and summer for arrests in the club’s parking lot — was debated at length, but ultimately the council backed off the revocation vote after Councilman Purvis Morrison questioned what would become of the building if the bar were shut down for two years. The council voted 5-4 in favor of tabling the matter.

Attorney Daniel Stanford, representing Karma, called the ordinance and point system “capricious and arbitrary,” pointing out that other clubs in the parish where violent crimes have occurred were not assessed points by the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Former Karma and Marley’s owner Eric Cloutier, addressing the council on Karma’s behalf, suggested that Karma is being target by consolidated government because of its mostly black customer base.

“When I owned it, it was a white club,” Cloutier said. “We had fights every night and never got points. Now it’s a black club.”

It’s unclear when the council will revisit a vote on whether the revocation should be imposed. Stanford has vowed to challenge the revocation in district court if the council ultimately denies Karma’s appeal.

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