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Indianapolis Reviews Possible Racism at Broad Ripple Club

Mayor Bart Peterson has asked a task force to examine claims that some nightclubs in a northside neighborhood discriminate against blacks by agreeing to limit when rap music can be played.

"I'm concerned because there is a suggestion that not everybody is welcome in Broad Ripple," Peterson said. "If that is the perception of some people, then it is an issue we should examine."

Members of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a civic group formed in the 1960s to promote unity and community growth, will address the concern that some club owners in the Broad Ripple made a pact to avoid hip-hop parties on weekends.

The concern began when J.Y.'s, a dance club formerly known as Eden, drew criticism from other bar owners for hosting hip-hop parties on weekends.

Peterson said the task force will investigate whether a ban on hip-hop is observed by club owners, and whether it has "the effect of segregating the community." The committee is expected to begin within two weeks.

The same group examined police-community relations at Peterson's request following complaints at Indiana Black Expo last July.

Some neighborhood leaders and business owners have denied accusations of racism but criticized J.Y.'s for its music.

"If you play this gangsta rap, it brings in gang bangers," said City-County Councilman James Bradford, a Republican whose district includes Broad Ripple. "I'm not going to let Broad Ripple get out of hand."