Easter Controversy Takes New Turn

April 12, 2007
Reported by Vince Atkinson

Did Lake Charles Police go too far in breaking up a large crowd Sunday?  That crowd had gathered at the civic center, police moved in after getting calls about illegal drug use, alcohol consumption, and loud music.   Some say the police overreacted, the police say they were just following the book.   It is never easy to figure out who is telling the truth in a "he said, she said" situation, but it is made a lot easier when the entire ordeal is caught on tape.

The Lake Charles Civic Center parking lot was packed with residents Easter Sunday.   Some folks gathered to have a good time, but it soon turned ugly.   Mark Krause with the Lake Charles Police Department said, "We had complaints of marijuana being smoked; some of the people there admitted marijuana had been smoked.   We had complaints of alcohol consumption in the city park, which is illegal, and load music."  Lake Charles Police officers showed up and told people to leave, when few people left, pepper gas was eventually used to brake up the crowd. Several Lake Charles City Council members received complaints about how police handled the situation.   Council member Rodney Geyen was horrified by what he heard, that is until he watched police surveillance video.   Geyen said, "Reviewing the video, I found no evidence of any such happenings ... They warned the people three time to leave."

It took about 15 minutes for the Lake Charles Civic Center parking lot to be cleared.   The exit process was smooth and orderly.   Geyen said,  "The video equipment always tells the truth ... That's all we are after, all the time, the truth."  As the scene was being cleared by police Easter Sunday, no one was arrested and no one reported any injuries.