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Police Padlock Trinity Lane Motel As Public Nuisance

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Police Padlock Trinity Lane Motel As Public Nuisance

CREATED Jul 8, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Police shuttered a north Nashville motel Tuesday morning after it was declared a public nuisance due to a long record of criminal activity.

Metropolitan Nashville Police officers raided and padlocked the Hallmark Inn at 309 W. Trinity Lane around 9:30 a.m. All rooms were vacated as the padlocking order was executed by officers, but those who were staying or living at the motel were being given assistance as needed.

Other agencies, including the Department of Children's Services, Public Works, the Nashville Fire Department, Board of Probation and Parole, the Homeless Coalition and the Red Cross, also responded to the motel to assist.

After the padlocking, North Precinct Commander Terrence Graves was joined at a press conference by area business owners, who had complained about the criminal activity at the motel for some time. The commander said the padlocking was a last resort.

"At some point we just have to say enough is enough," Commander Graves said.

Police said the motel has been a drain on their resources for at least the past four years, due to prostitution, drug activity, and other criminal issues.

From January 2010 to May 2014, police said they received 1,636 calls for response at the motel-- which they said is four times more calls to police than 10 other motels within a one-mile radius.

The reported criminal activity ranged from shootings, stabbings, domestic disturbances, fights, disorderly conduct, prostitution and drug activity. North Precinct officers and undercover detectives said their investigation found the motel was allowed to become prostitution and drug stash houses.

Police said they had repeatedly tried to work with the motel's owner and manager to make changes before the District Attorney's Office sought the padlocking order and temporary injunction. Commander Graves said they had gotten security, but it was insufficient to help with the issues.

"We have met with the owner here recently, and you know, basically the change we've seen has not been enough," said Graves. "We continue to get high priority calls here that threaten peoples' safety. Even as we were executing this order, a person ran out, assaulted an officer, and tried to get away."

Owner George W. Hussey and manager Vanessa Pryor were scheduled to go before Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier on Friday at 9 a.m. 

Police said any current guests of the motel with verifiable fees paid in advance would be refunded. Any property found in the rooms where guests were not present during the raid would be placed in the motel's office area for claim over the next few days.

The Hallmark Inn was the sixth hotel in Nashville to be padlocked as a public nuisance.