Hi Fi raid sheds light on rowdy nightlife on Congress Street

Hi Fi raid sheds light on rowdy nightlife on Congress Street

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - After Tucson police raided a popular bar and club early Friday morning for narcotics sales and over serving, downtown residents are taking a closer look at the nightlife scene.

“It gets pretty sketch,” said one club goer walking downtown Friday night.

Investigators with the Tucson Police Department raided Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails, located at 345 E. Congress St., early Jan. 10, 2020. The raid, which sprung from an investigation into several recent fights outside the bar, resulted in four arrests.

Police booked a Hi Fi security guard and a customer into the Pima County jail for felony narcotics sales and arrested two bartenders for over serving customers.

Though the raid is the most serious form of police intervention in recent weeks, violence downtown is nothing new.

A lot of the action is recorded and shared on social media. One of the biggest Twitter accounts for nightlife activity is TMZ Tucson.

The account is managed by Tucson local Frankie Lopez and has more than 3,000 followers.

Lopez’s Twitter account shows him walking around the downtown scene nearly every weekend with his camera ready to roll. It doesn’t take long for him to stumble upon a violent situation.

“There’s just fights every weekend. I’ve been coming here for years there’s just always a fight or something funny going on. Its downtown, people are drinking,” Lopez said.

His Twitter account shows the raw moments that happen any given weekend downtown. From fierce fist fights to people making their way down the street in a drunken stupor, it’s all caught on camera and posted to Lopez’s Twitter.

"The huge clubs are right here, on a Friday, Saturday night people are walking by, they’re getting food, they’re waiting for their Ubers, something happens,” he said.

Many people searching for a late-night bite stand outside of Randall Lopez’s food truck that’s parked right next to The Funky Monk, a popular bar on Congress Street.

“People get scared. People don’t want to stand here, you know, it just makes for a bad atmosphere,” Randall said.

His location, lodged between the three popular clubs on a busy street, reels in a lot of business — but not without trouble.

“I feel a little nervous sometimes, we get stolen from sometimes. There’s a lot of fights that happen right here,” Randall said.

Lopez said he doesn’t want to see any of the businesses get shut down and people aren’t ready to change their routine.

“We’re still down here four to five nights a week we love it — absolutely love living down here,” Kim Cota-Robles, a Tucson resident, said about downtown.

Instead, it’s a known risk that comes with being near downtown nightlife.

“The police are out here, the fights get broken up, the people go their own way it’s just what happens when people drink,” Lopez said.

Despite what social media posts show, the Tucson Police Department stated in a Facebook post Friday that overall crime in the area is on the decline.

“While fights that have been shared on social media have attracted attention, between 2017 and 2019, police activity in the downtown district, including calls for service and officer-initiated events, actually decreased 17.7%, while crime overall in the district decreased 14%,” the post stated.

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