PALMETTO — A judge has ruled a total shutdown of Groover’s Super Market is unnecessary, but did grant Manatee County’s request for a temporary injunction in an effort to halt criminal activity flourishing there.
Circuit Judge Diana L. Moreland decided that the county had presented no evidence that the public nuisance posed by the business is any different than it had been as recently as three years ago.
“Therefore, the court finds that a total shutdown of the business is unwarranted and unsupported at this time,” said the order dated Wednesday.
However, the judge did find that evidence in the case supported a temporary injunction, and she granted it.
Moreland ruled that security improvements the business had agreed to previously, such as “no trespassing” signs, additional lighting and security cameras, had not been fully implemented.
She ordered nine such security enhancements to be accomplished, with deadlines attached to each.
For instance, within two weeks, “No Loitering” signs must be posted, and a private off-duty security officer employed during business hours. Security cameras must be installed within a month, the order said.
Patricia Fitzgerald, who represented Roshan Patel, the operator of the market, said, “My client and I are very happy because the store is allowed to be left open, and to conduct business.”
“I think the judge was very fair in her ruling,” Fitzgerald said.
The county's attorney was also pleased with the ruling.
“She ruled for us on the injunction, and the judge adopted all the security standards we requested,” said James Minix, chief deputy county attorney. “We believe if the injunction is adhered to by the owner or operator, it will alleviate the problems.”
The court found “clear and convincing evidence” that criminal activity in the area of 17th Street West, First Avenue East, and Second Avenue West in found a meeting place at Groover’s Super Market.
“In other words, Groover’s, as presently operated, passively attracts, condones and supports criminal activity,” the judge wrote.
For more, pick up a copy of Saturday's Bradenton Herald.