Boise’s downtown was buzzing with plenty of action Saturday night (Sunday a.m.) as crowds stood along Main Street to watch police marching in the street.
It was no parade. They were watching 35 cops from four agencies squirting partyers with pepper spray following a violent stabbing incident at the Loft, a bar at 622 Idaho. Cops were scared (“felt threatened”) after the crowd failed to disperse taunted police who ordered them to leave the area.
Police Chief Mike Masterson is being placed in an unfair bind. He needs to maintain law and order in an area of concentrated partying and alcohol consumption. Friday night police initiated a “crackdown” and were forced to bring in outside agencies to assist the “bar team” which was created in September 2005. Apparently there are not enough Boise uniformed cops to keep the peace in downtown–evidenced by the outside troops who are routinely summoned to help.
The City recently amended–or is in the process of amending–an old ordinance which prohibits sale of alcohol on the sidewalk after sunset. It appears to the GUARDIAN there are two forces at work.
One is to sell more booze to make more money and attract more people downtown at night. The other force is charged with maintaining a safe place for citizens to enjoy their evenings. We hope both can reach a common goal, but when there are stabbings and murders it casts doubt on the issue.
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