ATC says temporary restraining order was granted so Reggie's cou - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

ATC says temporary restraining order was granted so Reggie's could reopen for 4th of July

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The owners of a popular bar near LSU that had its liquor license suspended after a police sting last week have received a temporary restraining order allowing them to immediately reopen for business.

Attorney Kris Perret represents Reggie’s Bar. He says Judge Tim Kelley, who was the duty judge Monday, approved the temporary restraining order and set a date for a hearing on the matter for July 11 before Judge Mike Caldwell. Judge Caldwell will decide at that hearing if the temporary suspension of the bar’s alcohol license will remain in place.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we are in compliance now with all state and local regulations and ordinances and that we maintain compliance in the future,” said Perret.

On June 29, the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) said the agency determined the alleged offenses at Reggie's "were of a nature as to warrant an immediate emergency suspension of the alcohol permit associated with that location."

Baton Rouge Police say they conducted a sting of the business on June 26 that resulted in 37 arrests. The arrests were as follows:

  • Open container violation - 4 
  • Minor in possession - 9 
  • Resisting arrest - 3
  • Picture ID required for entering a licensed alcohol outlet - 20 
  • Unlawful entry into a business selling alcohol by persons under 18 - 20 
  • Battery on a police officer - 1 
  • Disturbing the peace by simple drunk - 1
  • Use of a fake ID to enter and purchase alcohol - 8

The ATC originally set an emergency hearing on the suspended license for July 5, but on Monday postponed it until July 13. A separate hearing will be held on the restraining order on July 11. Monday night, the ATC issued a statement in response to the judge granting a temporary restraining order. They say they were not given the opportunity to file responsive pleadings and that the order was clearly granted in order to allow Reggie's to open for the 4th of July holiday. 

The full statement reads:

Late this afternoon the ATC learned that a state court had granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the agency from enforcing its emergency suspension of the alcohol permit issued to Reggie's bar.

The TRO petition submitted on behalf of Reggie's bar alleges that the ATC's emergency suspension was somehow improper because there was no public safety, welfare or health issues which warranted emergency suspension despite the fact that almost 20 juveniles (16 and 17 year olds) were found on premises many in possession of alcohol.

Louisiana state law does not allow minors on the premises of a bar. The large number of minors not only present at Reggie's, but drinking on premises was a considerable public safety/welfare issue in the opinion of the ATC Commissioner. Clearly the court did not agree.

The TRO was granted unilaterally, without giving the ATC the opportunity to file responsive pleadings. However, the action simply delays penalties authorized by state law for the clear public safety and welfare violations Reggie's bar admits to within its petition.

It is clear that the purpose of this TRO was to allow Reggie's to open for the 4th of July because there was already a hearing scheduled on July 5 where remedial measures could be approved without the need for court action.

The agency will respect the authority of the judicial system and refrain from enforcing the suspension until the hearing scheduled for July 11 is conducted. The ATC hearing will be continued until July 13. Representatives of Reggie's bar will be required to attend.

The agency is confident that its authority to enforce state law pertaining to alcohol sales will be upheld by the court system and it looks forward to an ultimate resolution of these issues.

Perret says the bar staff has already taken improvement steps, including implementing new security measures and a scanner that will help cut down on fake IDs.

The full petition for the temporary restraining order can be read below:

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