KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville strip club called a ‘haven for criminal activity’ by prosecutors has been ordered to close under the state’s public nuisance law.
The Ball Gentlemen’s Club and Jolly’s Sports Bar on Alcoa Highway were ordered to close this week under the state’s nuisance injunction law, “based on homicide, shootings, fights and other violent behavior,” according to a release from the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office.
The injunction was approved by Knox County Judge Steve Sword after an investigation by District Attorney General Charme Allen’s Felony Drug Unit and investigators with Knoxville Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit.
KPD has responded to over 80 calls over the past several, including citizens who called E-911 on multiple occasions to reports shots fire at the club. One of the incidents involved Randolph Thomas Garner who was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Broderick Gipson last year.
The disturbances led to communities speaking out against the strip club about their concerns with the noise and their safety, especially after the homicide situation.
“Owners, managers and employees were unwilling or incapable of controlling the criminal activity occurring on the property, leading to an environment that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to the people and the surrounding communities,” according to a release from the district attorney’s office.
“The Ball is a menace to the community particularly due to the violence that is occurring both inside and outside of the business, and we will use every resource and law available to combat violence in our community,” Allen said.
President of the Ball Gentlemen’s Club John Nichols sent out a statement, “Like many other establishments that provide live entertainment to the public, we have not been immune to occasional unfortunate behavior.”
Nichols claims that “the complaints outlined in the order were not within the establishment but were the result of those who were trespassing onto their property and had been repeatedly asked to leave the area.”
“We are consulting with our attorneys, and we plan to vigorously defend our right to operate our legal business,” he added.
Owners are ordered to appear in court on June 9 to show why a permanent injunction should not be issued.
The Ball’s nuisance injunction marks the 61 closure by the District Attorney’s Office and KPD.