Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Tuesday, June 26, 2001


East Side Café in Cleburne to Get Windows, Doors Boarded Shut

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn has obtained an agreed judgment in Johnson County District Court that will result in the closure of a Cleburne café reputed to have been the site of many illegal drug and gambling activities.

The business, known as the East Side Café at 812 N. Brazos St., has been known in the area as a place to purchase drugs and alcoholic beverages illegally, and has also been the scene of gambling and prostitution.

The defendant, Bobby Gene Ellison, was also named in the state's original petition seeking closure. As property owner, Ellison will allow the boarding up of the structure next month to prevent any further use of the café or its parking area, as required under the court's injunction which will be in place for one year beginning July 7.

"No city in Texas or its law-abiding citizens should have to tolerate this kind of dangerous nuisance," said Attorney General Cornyn. "We've asserted our authority to ensure the people of Cleburne that their safety is a priority and that these kind of business practices are not welcome."

Investigators, including the Cleburne Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff and County Narcotics Task Force, have documented that the café has been a hangout for known felons and drug dealers. The establishment has also been the backdrop for numerous shootings, stabbings, thefts, drunken behavior and even murder. Undercover officers pointed out that Mr. Ellison has condoned and even participated in much of the illegal activity.

During the murder investigation, local police described the scene as "riotous" and reported being harassed and placed in serious danger.

In other incidents at this establishment:

  • Officers last summer apprehended a fugitive from Colorado in the parking lot, additional evidence that undesirables gravitate to the location.
  • When answering a call in July about a vehicle stolen from the East Side Café, officers were assaulted by a crowd of about 150 throwing bottles, fireworks and bricks.
  • Men, women and even children congregating around the establishment routinely tip off patrons inside by shouting "Five-O," slang indicating the arrival of police.

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