How many Baton Rouge city policemen does it take to break up a fight? Apparently, all of them! How else do you explain the over-the-top frenzy of policemen that was witnessed by those who were attempting to escape the Beauregard Town area, at the culmination of this year’s Spanish Town Mardi Gras?

Scuttlebutt was that there was a police officer “down.” OK, serious enough to warrant a reasoned response from officers on site, of which there were many. But the actual response was not reasoned!

The thousands of parade-goers, many of them children, who were crossing streets and making their way from the downtown area to their parked cars never witnessed a high-speed movie chase more thrilling and dangerous!

One witness stated that at least 20 police cars and motorcycles responded to the call for assistance.

It was at least that many that raced, at high speeds, up North Street, sirens blaring, as dazed and scared parade-goers did their best to hurriedly escape the careening vehicles. You’ve never seen women, with babies in hand or in carriages, get out of the way so fast!

I personally witnessed the intersection of two police cars that nearly collided. At the speeds at which they were barreling along, the collision could have sent them rolling into those of us who were walking or sitting only a few feet away.

What was all of this about? The next day we learned that a female officer had attempted to arrest a drunk and had been punched in the face. This is what it had all been about? A policewoman had been punched in the face? You mean all of those wild-eyed cops didn’t know that that’s what had happened? There weren’t already enough cops on hand to break up a simple fight with no guns or knives? Give me a break!

The Feb. 10 Sunday Advocate featured a front page article on the dangers of high-speed police chases. A BRPD spokesman would not comment on the department’s specific high-speed chase policies. He did say, “all of our training and procedures are designed to do everything possible to help reduce and manage the risks involved, both to the pubic and our officers.” Really? Comforting words that, unfortunately, don’t seem to have a basis in fact. I’m a supporter of our men and women in uniform, whatever their uniform. This was uncalled for, though.

I strongly suggest that it’s time to rewrite the policies and procedures, to ensure that all of BRPD’s officers actually read the book, and that they don’t lose their collective minds the next time one of their own gets a bloody nose.

Wayne Sanchez

retail assistant manager