NSW Police have been slammed on social media after a raid on William Street venue 77 that’s been described as unnecessarily “intimidating”.
In a post that’s been shared close to 3000 times on Facebook, Club 77 owner Matty Bicket described how 15 police officers and a sniffer dog entered the long-serving club on Saturday night, searching numerous guests and 77’s headline DJ, who was barred from the club and prevented from playing his set. According to Bicket, the police later returned and removed punters they believed to be intoxicated.
“15 police and a sniffer dog arrived at Club 77 last night storming the venue, 0 arrests were made, 0 drugs were found,” Bicket wrote. “Thanks NSW Police.”
“The result of this? A bad taste in my mouth for over the top policing, a loss of income, and a pissed off promoter. I’m running a fucking business, I pay tax and I work extremely hard to hold onto what we have here to keep a culture, I don’t deserve to be bullied and treated like a fucking criminal. I don’t know any other type of business or industry that gets treated so poorly.”
Club-goers also reported being strip-searched on public transport that night, while other venue managers described the behaviour of police at 77 as “the tip of the iceberg”. Anti-lockouts group Keep Sydney Open say the incident signals the need to have “a very serious conversation about police conduct and their use of taxpayer-funded resources”.
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In a comment provided to inthemix, NSW Police denied the use of tasers and said they made 13 drug detections that night in Kings Cross, 9 of which were issued with court attendance notices. They did not specify where in Kings Cross the arrests were made, or the quantity of drugs detected.
But this isn’t the first time police have overzealously targeted Sydney’s clubs. In December an estimated 40 officers raided Kings Cross nightspot Candys Apartment, shutting the club down and issuing it with a 72-hour closure notice. Just one drug arrest was made, with Keep Sydney Open calling the police operation “a complete disgrace”.
“One single drug arrest does not justify the dramatic operation undertaken by police, no matter how it’s explained,” KSO hit back. “There are numerous other ways in which such an operation could have been conducted to avoid alarming patrons or hitting the pockets of hardworking artists and staff.”