Chattanooga Beer Board votes to revoke Coyote Jacks' beer license
Thursday morning, the owners of Coyote Jacks learned that the Chattanooga Beer Board has revoked the club's beer license.
This comes in the wake of a deadly shooting that happened outside the club. It was the third homicide at the club since 2015.
On October 6th, Chattanooga Police say officers were already at Coyote Jacks on 1400 Cowart Street to help prevent disorder as the nightclub had closed early. According to an arrest affidavit, a fight broke out involving several people, and as police responded, they say shots were fired near officers.
CPD says officers found Brandon Rogers had been shot in the chest, and they immediately rendered aid as Hamilton County EMS responded. Rogers passed away at a nearby hospital.
Chattanooga PD said Monday that Jamycal Johnson has been arrested and charged with criminal homicide in the incident.
Since the deadly shooting, the city of Chattanooga filed a nuisance complaint against the club, and the building's owner evicted the business from its Cowart Street location.
Records show that Coyote Jacks was in violation of serving alcohol without a permit for more than two months in 2017.
In 2017, an agent for the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) found the Southside club in violation of working past 61 days allowed without a TABC server permit.
Watch the livestream of the hearing below:
At the hearing, Erin Wallin, a representative of Berke, Berke & Berke, said she is asking for her a continuance of a case for Ronnie Berke and Tammie Taylor, the owners. She said one attorney is out of town, and the owners would like to offer evidence and testimony before the board.
Keith Reisman with the City Attorney's office said they made two conditions for a continuance, keep the club closed and be able to serve Tammie Taylor with papers. Reisman says Taylor wouldn't open the door to accept the papers.
Wallin said Berke and King have evidence that would like to share if they can be extended to the next beer board meeting.
Wallin said it's possible the club will never reopen.
The club asked for the hearing to be delayed, but the Beer Board voted 6-1 to continue it on Thursday.
The city attorney's office said Bankable Holdings charter has been revoked by the state for failure to pay unemployment taxes. Under revocation, they can't operate with a beer permit. But Reisman said if they pay those back taxes, they are able to operate with a beer permit. The city attorney's office also said there is a summary suspension of the Tennessee alcohol license as well, but he's not sure of the status of that.
Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins then testified. He said he got to Coyote Jacks at 2 a.m. Oct. 6th because there was concern that there was a large party that would cause violence and the club was overcrowded. The party that was at the club was originally supposed to be in Knoxville but Knoxville PD canceled that event due to the same concerns.
Collins said after talking to fire marshal, they made the decision to shut down the club immediately due to safety concerns. He told the club’s bouncer who then made the announcement to the club.
Collins said as people were exiting, a fight broke out outside of the club. As backup was called, Collins says “he heard two pops of gunfire.” That’s when they found Brandon Rogers shot in the chest. Rogers was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Collins also said Coyote Jacks had four unlicensed security guards working that night/early morning.
Then, the Beer Board played surveillance video of the night of the shooting, showing the inside of the club, which was very crowded.
The Chattanooga Fire Department's Chuck Hartung then testified, talking about how many people are allowed in the club, and how they've been working with owners to split occupancy between floors instead of just counting overall attendance. The club has a capacity of 668 people, but all three levels in the club have a certain limit.
Travis Patton, a representative of Tennessee's Alcohol Beverage Commission then testified, saying the doorman told them there were more than 400 people upstairs in the club alone.
He said the air conditioning was not working upstairs and it felt "like being in the Middle East." He says it felt like 120 degrees.
"I have never seen anyone murdered 10 feet from police. That's how crazy this was," Patton said.
A witness to the crime then testified before the Board.
Linda Chann says she was at Coyote Jacks the night/morning of the deadly shooting. She used to work security at the club. She says there were weapon checks and no weapons made inside the club.
Chann said a security guard told her they would try to close down the club because it was overcrowded. That security guard called owner Tammie Taylor who she says was “mad” they were trying to shut down the club.
Chann said she was just there to enjoy the night, but also wanted to make sure her friends who were working security would be safe that night, especially because of the large crowd.
The Beer Board then voted unanimously to revoke Coyote Jacks' beer license, and adjourned the meeting.
This isn't the first time overcrowding has been a concern at the nightclub. In one instance in February 2017, Chattanooga Police said they performed a bar check along with the fire marshal and found the clicker showed 935 - hundreds more than the limit. You can see that report, and another violation from 2018 below:
Depend on us to bring you updates as we get them.