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Louis Osbourne

international news _ 31st October, 2006

US Rave Raid Arrests Dismissed

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

94 clubbers who were charged with ‘frequenting a drug house’ after US riot cops raided a club in Flint, Michigan last March, were declared innocent this week after a US judge declared the arrests unconstitutional.

Cops smashed into Club What's Next on a pre-arranged raid and arrested all 117 people present despite only finding drugs and paraphernalia on 23 people (despite carrying out strip and cavity searches on scores of the terrified ravers.)

"The District Court erred in finding probable cause to arrest these defendants," Genesee Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah wrote in his decision.

"To allow to stand the arrests of these 94 defendants would be to allow lumping together people who had been at the club for five minutes or five hours, people who never stopped dancing with those who sat next to a drug deal, people who sat at a table facing the wall with those in the middle of the mischief, and charge those dissimilarly present individuals with equal awareness and knowledge of wrongdoing."

The Judge’s decision was welcomed by the ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) who previously cited the bust as one of the worst injustices yet seen under laws passed via America’s infamous RAVE Act.

“The RAVE Act gives the government even more power to harass and arrest innocent musicians, promoters, venue owners, and fans - all in the name of the War on Drugs. Law enforcement agencies already target certain types of musical and cultural events and the nightclubs that host them,” the DPA reported last year.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration is prosecuting nightclub owners and promoters that organize electronic dance music events and the military is using drugs as a pretext to close down gay nightclubs,” they said.