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Injunction closes Coach’s permanently

[06/20/01] A judge in Indianola granted a permanent injunction closing a Vicksburg nightclub Tuesday in court proceedings initiated by the City of Vicksburg.

Assistant city attorney Bobby Robinson said Wednesday morning that Sunflower County Chancery Court Judge Jane Weathersby ruled that Coach’s, 1211 Washington St., is a public nuisance and must remain permanently closed. The club has been closed since court proceedings began in April.

Robinson filed papers in March on behalf of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen seeking an injunction against Jerry Stampley, owner of Coach’s, a month after a shooting at the club.

The suit was moved to Indianola after Warren County Chancery Court Judge Vicki Barnes recused herself from the hearing.

Court papers filed on behalf of the city argued that “various illegal and obnoxious activities” have continually occurred in and near the club. Papers also indicate that since the bar opened in 1998, the Vicksburg Police Department had been called to Coach’s more than 200 times. Merchants complained of broken windows in their stores and urine in their doorways.

Legal precedents have been set in Mississippi courts to allow city governments to shut down a business if it can be shown that it is a public nuisance, Robinson said.

Last year, police presence downtown was increased after a Washington Street business owner videotaped what was going on in the early morning hours. The tape showed dozens of people wandering up and down the street in front of Coach’s with open containers of alcohol in violation of a city law.

In Vicksburg, at least two other bars deemed unruly by the city were closed in the 1990s after numerous police calls.

In 1999, complaints of unruly crowds, brawling and vandalism in front of Club T-Rel on Washington Street ended when the business lost its lease. At the time, Mayor Robert Walker was also pledging legal action against T-Rel’s as a public nuisance after the nightclub was closed early by police on more than one occasion.