A “Sweet Sixteen” birthday party gone sour has resulted in a ticket to jail for Alonzo Gladden.
His problems started after a fight broke out on the dance floor of a downtown nightclub where his cousin’s party was being held last month. Charleston police were called. Gunshots were heard. And the city decided to hold Gladden accountable.
He was found guilty of being a public nuisance and sentenced to 20 days of incarceration during a Monday session of Charleston Livability Court.
Gladden said he doesn’t belong behind bars.
“I feel as though I got a raw deal,” Gladden said. “Financially, I can’t afford to miss any days from work. I can’t be doing this.”
Gladden, 41, does building maintenance and painting. On weekends he helps manage The Lake House, his father’s Mosquito Beach nightclub on James Island.
“He just had knee surgery,” Gladden said.
He worries about who will care for his children if he goes to jail. They are ages 9 months, 9 and 18. If needed, his mother and girlfriend could take on that duty, he said.
Gladden, of James Island, was scheduled to report to jail at 5 p.m. Thursday. He said his lawyer got that postponed at least until Friday. He is hoping that his attorney can get him out of going to jail altogether.
Gladden’s rap sheet from the State Law Enforcement Division shows that he has been behind bars before, with convictions for crack cocaine possession, driving under suspension and failure to stop for blue lights.
Gladden said he served about a year in state prison in 1996 on a drug-related offense but has stayed out of trouble in recent years.
His latest brush with the law happened on Aug. 24 when a fight broke out around 1 a.m. at the Music Farm, where about 200 teenagers were celebrating his cousin’s birthday.
As the club was cleared, a disturbance spilled onto the streets and gunfire was heard. Officers checked the area of Mary Street on foot and found a .25-caliber pistol behind a wooden fence, police said.
Gladden and a nightclub manager were identified as the people responsible for the party. Both received a citation for being a public nuisance. The manager was fined $1,092.
Gladden said he signed papers to rent the Ann Street club, but the contract for the event was in the name of a relative who promoted the party. Gladden said he contributed $500 to the $4,000 event.
“Even though I didn’t promote it, I had something to do with it because I put in my money,” he said.
The court fined Gladden $484 for not having a city business license, he said, but he didn’t know one was required for the party.
It was unclear Thursday why Gladden received the harshest sentence in the incident. The only police report available concerns the gun found on Mary Street, and the document does not mention Gladden. Police later provided a written statement to The Post and Courier giving a brief description of the disturbance at the party and verifying the charges against Gladden.
Associate Municipal Judge Michael Molony, who sentenced Gladden, declined to discuss specifics of the case or the punishment.
Marshall Lowe of the Music Farm said he was not familiar with Gladden, his involvement in the party or the specifics of his citation for being a public nuisance. He said the nightclub contracted to rent the venue to another individual.
“To the best of my knowledge, the police presence was to assist in response to a fight between teenagers at the event. The event was shut down,” Lowe said in an e-mail.
Gladden noted that no one was arrested and no one got hurt.
“And I wasn’t involved in any fights,” he said.