A performer at the Commercial Hotel in Milton on Saturday night has spoken out about the “immense cruelty and stupidity” he says was displayed by Shoalhaven police officers during a proactive operation last weekend.
The operation involved sniffer dogs and targeted drug activity, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime between Berry and Ulladulla.
Greens Councillor Amanda Findley said such an operation was a waste of resources.
Cr Findley lives less than 100 metres from the Commercial.
“If they knew someone had drugs in there, fine,” Cr Findley said.
“Don’t cause unnecessary drama on cruisy nights.”
The Greens argue funds used for sniffer dogs in these types of operations and during music festivals should be redirected to things such as educational campaigns.
Lyall Moloney, who had a sold out gig at the Commercial Hotel on Saturday night, said police “stormed the building” about halfway through his set, and as a result, the dance floor cleared
“There was someone filming me on a chair, and he was thrown to the ground,” Lyall said.
On his Facebook page, he wrote: “During my set two dogs and seven police stormed the building half emptying the room...I respect the police but all this violence is utterly inhumane and frankly I am appalled once again by the immense cruelty and stupidity displayed by our public servants.”
Another patron, Nathan Dixon from Sydney, said, “the whole vibe was gone,” after police went through the venue.
“They bought the anti-social behaviour with them.”
There were numerous comments on Lyall’s Facebook page in response to the incident.
Lyall said that while he understood it was not in his control, he would be happy to offer anyone who was at the gig a free copy of his CD to say sorry.
The musician has encouraged people affected by the operation to contact him through his Facebook page.
A spokesperson for the Shoalhaven police said no one had officially complained about their presence at the Commercial Hotel and that the proactive operation was a success.
“Police encourage members of the public to enjoy themselves while visiting the Shoalhaven and its licensed premises however your behaviour should not impact on any other member of the public and should always be lawful,” said a statement on the Shoalhaven LAC Facebook page.