The first time Detroit cops busted in on a party being held by Matt Abbott, the 32-year-old screen printer and DJ admits he was clearly in the wrong.
That was back in November, when he threw a bash at his former print shop in the old 555 Art Gallery on Grand River Avenue. More than 200 people attended, a turnout similar to a few previous parties he'd hosted.
Around 1:30 a.m. on that particular night, he says a group of about 20 Detroit police officers stormed in and demanded everyone under 21 move to one side of the room, and those 21 and older to the other side. Seven minors were found, given Breathalyzer tests and subsequently ticketed.
"I was totally cooperative. I totally understood," Abbott tells the Hits. "I spoke up and said it's my spot and took responsibility for everything."
Apparently he was so congenial one officer actually bought two of Abbott's prints.
He says they ticketed him for "operating a blind pig" and "furnishing alcohol to a minor."
Rightfully so, he says.
"They told me, 'We could give you a ticket for every one of the minors that got a ticket, but we won't do that because you have been so cooperative,'" Abbott adds.
But three days later, in the mail, he received a handwritten letter from the DPD along with six more tickets for furnishing alcohol to a minor.
So much for the cooperation.
"[That party] was stupid on my end," Abbott says. "We weren't really checking IDs. That was totally legit that I got in trouble for that."
Skip ahead to early February.
Facing the prospects of hefty fines totaling several thousand dollars as well as lawyer fees, Abbott — who says he previously had a clean record — figured he'd hold a fundraiser.
This time around, he intended to do it right, in a legal venue, to avoid repeating his previous mistakes. The event was held at Jumbo's, a bar on the fringes of Midtown. A rotating group of friends and Abbott worked the door that night, checking every person's ID, in hopes of ensuring the night would go off without a hitch.
Shortly before 2 a.m., the bartender had announced last call. A few minutes later, 15 officers came in through the front and back entrances, demanding everyone under 21 move to one side of the room.
Except, no one in attendance was a minor.
The officers found no reason to ticket the bar, Abbott or anyone.
Now, we realize that the law is the law, and that there's the potential for underage drinkers to cause a lot of damage to themselves and others if they get behind the wheel.
We just thought it's worth pointing out that, while the DPD brass decided to dispatch 15 cops to raid a place where nothing illegal was occurring, real crime was taking place. According to The Detroit News, there were nine shootings in Detroit on Feb. 10-11. Four people shot in that spree died.
Given that, Abbott suggests, the folks over at police headquarters might want to take a look at their priorities when it comes to expending precious manpower on busting partiers.
"I think there would be better shit for them to do," Abbott says.
We called DPD multiple times to get their side of the story. As of Monday, they still hadn't got back to us with any reply.
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