Newark late-night eateries to have armed guards

July 7, 2011 5:41:52 PM PDT
The Newark City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that would require certain restaurants to post armed guards after 9 p.m.

"With this order, he'll take us out of business, that's what he's doing," said Jamil Nahiam, owner of two late-night eating establishments.

He has an afternoon meeting with Councilman Ras Baraka on Friday about the Councilman's proposal to force late night chicken and pizza shacks, to have armed guards on duty if they're open past 9 at night. He says armed guards don't come cheap.

"It would cost me, I can't afford it," he added.

But here's the concern on the other side. Newark is in a brawl, trying to get the upper hand on violent crime. 5 people were shot, and 3 were killed on the 4th of July. Back in May, off-duty officer William Johnson was shot dead outside of a Texas Fried Chicken restaurant, one of Jamil's stores. Some say violent criminal acts often break out in or around these late night, take out spots and having armed guards may help keep customers safer.

"Excellent. If it's not broke, don't fix it. It's broke!" said well-known peace advocate, Earl Best, also know as 'Street Doctor.'

"If it's something that helps, I'm for it, and I'm for that," he said.

But Jamil says the stores have nothing to do with the crime.

"There's no correlation between crime and take out stores, in my stores, people come, order and leave, there's no hanging around or sitting in," Jamil said.

The ordinance effects any fast food restaurant or eateries that serve fewer than 15 people at a time. Larger restaurants would not be affected.

Failure to comply with the new law, sponsored by Councilman Ras Baraka, will force owners to close overnight.

The ordinance takes effect in 30 days, unless Mayor Booker vetoes it.

Mayor Booker's office says the mayor has no intentions of vetoing this ordinance at this time.