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Monday, March 20, 2006

St. Pat's organizer: What more can we do?

St. Patrick's Day Parade organizer Mary Nestel isn't happy with front-page news like this:

  • Shots were fired, and a family was brutally attacked by youths in a parking lot near 16th Street and Grand Boulevard.Police broke up at least 10 fights, tackled a gunman and nearly shot a juvenile who had a toy gun.
  • In one attack Friday, a Kansas City Star employee and his family were kicked and beaten toward the end of the parade in one of the newspaper’s parking lots. A witness and Star security officials said one youth shot a gun into the air.
  • Star story Saturday: Violence returns with gunfire, beatings, arrests

I called Mary this morning to see what, if anything, might be done differently next year.

"What more can we do?" she said. "We can’t tell certain people not to come down. It’s Kansas City’s largest single-day event, so aside from charging people to come...

"Where are our leaders in Kansas City to start looking at these, as the police called it, young thugs? Because the police did their jobs. They were all out there. We did not cut back in staffing. We even bought more barricades.

"We did our job by putting on an unbelievably successful parade. You could tell that by the thousands of people who came down and had a great time. And then a small 1 percent had to have a bad time thanks to some young thugs. Why were they even there?"

She told me she still hasn't seen a police report, and expects to meet with police later this week. She didn't like The Star placing the arrests story next to the parade recap on the front page Saturday:

"What are you guys going to do when that Arena opens and there’s a huge concert and everyone comes outside and about two blocks of cars are broken into and 10 people get mugged?" she said. "Are you going to put that right next to it? How is it going to be successful? It's not."

Update: Thursday, March 23, 2006:
I thought it would be helpful to put meeting updates, TV/radio links on the topic, etc. here.

Ruckus_logoTonight: KCPT's Ruckus, 7-7:30 p.m., will discuss the parade, among other topics.

On Friday, the public television station's Week in Review program will also have the parade as a topic at 7:30 p.m.

Kcpd_2005_badge_16On Monday, Kansas City police will conduct an internal review of their deployment and performance at the parade. Spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart has also responded on this blog to a critic.

Kansas_city_fountain_logoA report on the parade requested by Mayor Kay Barnes will be presented to the Kansas City Police Board at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Kc_irish_parade_logoThe Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee will hold its wrap-up meeting Wednesday.

I'd be glad to add/link to other meetings, events or shows.

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