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NAACP Upset About Police Raid of Restaurant

April 4, 1986

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Police raided a restaurant where an NAACP group was holding an awards dinner and searched guests for drugs.

Police said that the timing of the raid Thursday night was a coincidence and that they did not know the dinner was being held. Officials of the civil rights group said they wanted police to apologize.

″Things like this leave a bad taste in your mouth,″ said N. Charles Anderson, director of the NAACP Midwest Region. ″A lot of outstanding citizens were there. I can’t say it was timed to embarrass us, but maybe it was. I would like someone to reassure us that it was not.″

″Of course we had no knowledge there was a party there,″ said Lt. Eugene Fisher.

″The last thing the Police Department wants to do is give the NAACP people a hard time,″ said Lt. Anthony Bacich. ″The police were just doing their job. It puts them in an awkward position.″

The dinner was held in appreciation of those who helped organize the regional conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Milwaukee last month.

Christine Belnavis, president of the Milwaukee NAACP branch, said police did not identify themselves when they entered the restaurant.

″We just heard people coming in with rifles drawn and triggers clicking,″ she said.

She said officers patted down guests to check for drugs. The officers stopped the searches after they were informed the dinner was in progress.

No drugs were found, but a woman not connected with the NAACP dinner was arrested on a felony warrant for burglary, police said.

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