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Art gallery raided

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The gallery owner and artist doesn't see the harm in mixing spirits and art culture. The gallery owner and artist doesn't see the harm in mixing spirits and art culture.
Loren Naji affirmed his actions as harmless. Loren Naji affirmed his actions as harmless.
OHIO CITY, OH (WOIO) -

There was an abrupt ending to Loren Naji's art gallery opening Friday, May 2 in Ohio City when it was raided by police.

''I am not a common criminal. I am trying to promote art and culture," Naji attested.

Naji was issued a misdemeanor cease and desist order for the illegal sale of alcohol after the aid but he does not understand why.

''I was not collecting any money for it, he explained. "I was not selling it." 

First Cleveland Police arrived on a noise complain that Loren Naji suspected came from a person who lives a mile away.

He believed, "It was a neighbor possibly from Tremont a mile away."

Then state liquor agents confiscated an estimated $600 worth of beer and wine.

Josh Usmani was one of the people attending the opening and says serving beer and wine at art gallery openings is a common practive.

''It's an old tradition goes back a long time in this community," the artist explained.

Loren Naji says last night's raid sends the wrong message to an area that is trying to promote art and culture.

''If they have police busting people for having a beer at an opening it's not going to work," affirmed Naji.

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