At most strip clubs, attention is focused on the performers onstage.
For the audience gathered at The Ball Gentlemen’s Club in South Knoxville early Sunday morning, however, the best show of the night was apparently in the parking lot — at least until the Knoxville Police Department showed up to help the club’s security guards drive away a large crowd of bloodthirsty barflies who were battling it out in plain view of Alcoa Highway.
No one appeared to be seriously hurt in the fracas, although two KPD officers were almost run down by a fleeing car and three especially ornery people were arrested, officials said.
Sunday’s melee — which involved at least 30 bar patrons plus an unknown number of KPD officers and private security personnel — wasn’t the first time that large numbers of police were dispatched to quell an outbreak of violence at the nightspot, which is located at 3005 Alcoa Highway. Last summer, for instance, a gunfight erupted in the parking lot that left one man dead and two others injured.
According to KPD spokesperson Scott Erland, officers arrived at the strip club around 4:15 a.m. Sunday to find that “a crowd of around 30 people were fighting in the parking lot.”
One man, identified as 43-year-old Alvin Wilson, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and public intoxication, Erland said. Two women were also arrested — Reshauna Dyer, 24, who was charged with disorderly conduct, and 26-year-old Shadavia Roberts, who was charged with reckless driving and two counts of aggravated assault on a first responder for allegedly attempting to back her vehicle over two police officers as well as Dyer.
After taking Wilson into custody, KPD Officer Tyler Perrochi claimed that the man had drunkenly threatened officers while trying to keep them from accosting one of the female combatants.
“While police were trying to get everyone to leave the property, they saw two women fighting,” Perrochi wrote in an arrest warrant filed in General Sessions Court. “Police tried to break up the fighting between the women and a man ran up to police with a bladed stance and told police not to touch one of the women who were actively fighting. Police told the individual, identified as Alvin Wilson, to back up so police could control the situation and he continued yelling at police while they were trying to break up the fight.”
Perrochi said that Wilson’s breath reeked of alcohol as he was yelling at them and that he’d been “staggering” as he ran towards them.
“After Wilson was told to leave and he continued yelling, causing a scene and maintaining an aggressive stance towards police for trying to stop the fight (he) was taken into custody,” the officer wrote.
Another KPD officer, Jasmine Reed, wrote an account of how two of her fellow officers and one of the crowd’s combatants were almost run down by an intoxicated woman who was trying to drive away from the scene.
“Officers observed Reshauna (Dyer) actively fighting several times,” Reed reported. “While officers were breaking up a fight with (Dyer), Shadavia Roberts attempted to back her vehicle over Officer M. Zybert, Officer J. Young, and Reshauna (Dyer). Roberts stated she was intoxicated and was just attempting to get away.”
A records check, however, showed that Roberts’s license to drive was suspended, Reed noted.
The charges against Wilson and Dyer were low-level misdemeanors that were dismissed when they agreed to pay court costs a few hours later, records show. The aggravated assault charges against Roberts, however, are felony offenses that are still pending.
The building currently occupied by The Ball Gentlemen’s Club (which has “over 6,000 square feet of adult entertainment and sports bar,” according to its website) has stood in the same lot on Alcoa Highway for more than 30 years and has housed several other strip clubs. It’s not clear who the current owner is.
The club briefly made headlines across the country when a bouncer was wounded by an arrow loosed from some nearby woods in 2013. The bouncer speculated that he was targeted by a bow-and-arrow wielding “disgruntled customer” and credited his thick muscles for limiting the damage to his shoulder.
Although the property has seen its share of incidents over the years, the bloodiest episode in its history is believed to be a shootout that took place in the parking lot on July 11, 2021, that left one man dead and two others wounded, including the suspect.
Authorities in Knox County have used criminal nuisance laws on a regular basis in recent years to shut down both private homes and businesses that draw too much trouble.
In fact, according to District Attorney General’s spokesperson Sean McDermott, authorities “have filed approximately sixty nuisance injunctions with eighteen filed against bars/nightclubs.”
He refused, however, to discuss whether a nuisance injunction was in the works for The Ball.
“Ethical rules prohibit the DA’s Office from commenting on specific cases,” he said.
As was the case after last year’s shooting, attempts to contact The Ball’s management for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Published on May 25, 2022.