Get used to the following scene, described in yet another ‘Letter of the Day’…
Police Mishandled Party Incident
Editor, Times-Dispatch: I was at the party at Main and 2nd Streets, and feel irate over the action taken by the officers on the scene. I consider myself an upstanding citizen. I am a full-time student at VCU with a grade point average of 3.0, a part-time employee with Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market, and an intern with a human services department for Henrico. I am not a criminal, but that night I was treated as one.
I had no idea that the police had arrived at the party until the apartment was filled with pepper spray. The only exit from this second-floor apartment was a three-foot-wide doorway leading to a winding staircase. This exit was blocked by dozens and dozens of panicked people trying to escape. Like many others, I ran to the windows for air. I saw people breaking through the glass of closed windows, and a few people even jumped.
When I finally made it outside I witnessed people asking officers for their badge numbers, to which the officers responded, “We don’t have to give it to you.” A few officers even cursed at the people who persisted in asking for information. The officers instructed the people who rode their bikes to the party to walk home. I found that option very dangerous, especially for females who had to walk home alone that night. I also witnessed a friend at the party have an asthma attack as a result of the pepper spray. Another friend was handcuffed face down on the street that was covered with glass.
This experience was frightening and appalling. I feel the officers used excessive force in dispersing this party. The actions taken by the police were poorly planned and irresponsible. Had I been warned to leave the party that night by police, I would have. But again, I was unaware of the officers’ presence until I was choking on pepper spray. Laura Bullock. richmond.
Next time you have a party, make sure there’s a security force on hand. Better yet, pay off the police!