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"Shut them down" - Neighbors ask Gadsden Co. Commissioners for ordinance against illegal internet cafes

Internet Cafes are illegal in Gadsden County according to state law.
Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 19:03:35-05
  • Neighbors are asking Gadsden County Commissioners to create an ordinance to ban illegal internet cafes across the county.
  • Internet cafes are illegal in Gadsden County according to state law.
  • Watch the video to see how an ordinance is made.


Neighbors have reached out to me and said some internet cafes in Gadsden County are still up and running.

I’m Ashley Engle your neighborhood reporter in Quincy. I've been covering this issue for about 5 months now when a neighbor lost his life at an internet café back in November 2023. Now, that neighbor’s wife and others are going to the county, to potentially shut these establishments down.

It's something Lewis Butler's wife Kimberly says needs to be done. "we know they're illegal."

Because, "I don't want to see a repeat of what happened to my husband."

A solution they thought of, asking Gadsden County for an ordinance.

She and other neighbors including pastor Tracey Stallworth faced county commissioners February 20th.

"If we get an ordinance crafted by the Board of County Commissioners, we believe that would give us more leverage to enforcing the closer of these illegal internet cafes."

Internet Cafes are adult arcades that operate slot machines which are illegal.

In Gadsden County, under state law, they are illegal.

They're also known to lead to several secondary crimes including prostitution, assault and murder.

"When an activity becomes unsafe and its illegal in the state of Florida then it’s up to local government to support the state statue."

Commissioner Brenda Holt is one who says an ordinance is necessary, but there is a process before someone can draft one.

"The board has to vote in order to pass an ordinance therefore we have to get together. The board has to decide as a collective body and to see what should be put in that ordinance."

It's almost been four months since Lewis Butler was killed, and many neighbors including Kimberly and Pastor Stallworth are hoping change is on the horizon.

"This ordinance can protect our citizens in each district."

"I’m asking the county commissioners to please pass an ordinance to close these illegal internet cafes. That's what I want to see happen, I want to see them closed down."

County leaders say they and the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office are planning on having a workshop to discuss an ordinance draft soon. I will let you know when that date is released.