Saturday, August 02, 2008

Berrien Cops out of control again

Overzealous police made ruckus at reception worse 8/1/08

Editor (H-Palladium),

This is in response to an article printed July 24 regarding an unruly wedding party in Lakeside. On the night of July 19, I was working for the catering company that provided the food. To call the event a “melee” is a huge overstatement.

To begin with, the owner of the establishment lied to the wedding party. He told them that their contract expired at 11 p.m., when it actually was an open contract. Also, there was one glass broken prior to the arrival of the police, which is not uncommon for any large gathering. I believe it was broken by a careless child. Any other damaged occurred later during a scuffle with the police officers. I witnessed family and friends celebrating a new marriage.

Nobody was out of line until the owner decided to breach his contract and kick them out.

When the police arrived, they blocked the driveways with their cars and would not move them to allow people to leave. It wasn’t that the guests refused to leave, but rather the police officers, ranging from New Buffalo to Baroda, along with the Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police, refused to let them leave. When I asked an officer with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department to move his car, he ignored me. When I asked another officer to move his car, he placed his hand on his gun and told me not to start trouble and followed me back into the building.

I saw innocent people being subdued with a Taser gun. I saw a groom being hauled off to jail, separated from his wife on his wedding night. I saw the father of the groom arrested, and I saw many people scared by the actions of the police officers. But this information was not included in the write-up of the event.

I hope the bride and groom pursue the proper legal recourse against both the owner of the establishment and the police officers who arrived on the scene.

Andrew Mason St. Joseph