A promoter and rap artist said they believe racial bias was at play when an event they scheduled was abruptly canceled in Sedalia.
U.S. Army veteran Shawn Sims, also known by his rap name “Feelmore Slim,” told the 41 Action News Investigators he had several performers signed up for an event at a Sedalia venue.
But he said that despite performing at that same venue several times without incident, police input led to the show’s cancelation.
"Fighting a war over there cross seas, you come home and you’re still fighting a war here in your country against race,” Sims said.
Sims, a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, says he’s frustrated and angry.
A flyer given to 41 Action News Investigators by both Sims and the Sedalia Police Department shows Sims was planning a rap concert in a room at Sedalia’s Truman Inn on April 9.
Two nights before the performance, event coordinator D.J. Moreno sent him a text message.
It says, “Sorry, the city called and said they don’t want that type of show here and [if] we did have the show, they would take away our alcohol license”.
Sims responded, “They can’t legally do that bro.”
Moreno then texted, “They said they don’t want that type of artist here because it attracts many problems. Sorry I’m going to do it because they’re going to close me down”.
"I've done multiple shows there, never had any problems,” Sims said.
When the 41 Action News Investigators asked Moreno about Sims' past appearances he said, “Never have a problem here, all the time it’s good".
"We’ve had issues there of gunshots in the parking lot and large fights,” said Sedalia Police Commander David Woolery.
Sedalia Police sent 41 Action News Investigators more than a dozen incident reports for that Truman Inn venue in a little over two years.
The most serious incidents included a gunshot fired and a large fight.
None of the incidents specifically indicated either Sims or his events were involved.
The 41 Action News Investigators also cross referenced the dates on flyers from Sims' previous events at the venue with the police department’s incident reports.
There were no matches.
Woolery says when he saw another flyer for an after party at a venue not zoned for a party, he expressed his concerns to the wife of the owner of the Truman Inn venue.
Woolery says she told him neither she nor her husband knew anything about the event.
"Our concern is that they’ve got preferably security, and if they’re going to sell alcohol, they have a good liquor license,” Woolery said.
Woolery also said he was concerned the event would exceed the 250 person capacity of the room.
Despite his text messages claiming the police threatened the venue’s liquor license, Moreno also told 41 Action News Investigators that the Sims event was canceled due to overcrowding concerns.
"Too much people here," said Moreno. "That one supposed to be canceled."
When 41 Action News Investigators asked Woolery if the size of the crowd could be controlled at the door, he said, “It can, it just needs to be”.
Sims says he did have security lined up, including off-duty police, and planned to keep the crowd under the 250 occupancy limit.
Additionally, he says attempts to reschedule at other venues in Sedalia went nowhere.
"I do think it’s a racist move by the city," said Sims. "The city of Sedalia speaks for itself."
Sims also told the 41 Action News Investigators he’s rescheduled his canceled event with artists he promised the opportunity to perform.
The new event is currently set for June 24.
But, so far, he doesn’t have a venue lined up.
Andy Alcock can be reached at email@example.com.