Op-Ed By Matt Marquardt
Passing through Mason City’s north end Thursday night around midnight, surveying the atmosphere, there was plenty of action there. People walking, riding bikes, standing in entrances to bars with cigarettes. Sitting in back yards in lawn chairs, chatting, perhaps about the latest events in their neighborhood.
This reporter saw several police converge on North Side Liquor and stopped to see what was going on.
Two young ladies (pictured below with officers and ambulance personnel) were stopped there by MCPD officers. Apparently one of the women had been in a fight and the police stopped them to ask questions.
The woman said to be involved in the fight (pictured below surrounded by police) appeared uninjured but police summoned an ambulance anyway, according to her friend (dressed in white with blue head band). The ambulance personnel questioned the woman but appeared to take no action.
The incident appeared to be over until one officer approached one of the young women (the one dressed in white) and launched into a very loud verbal tirade that lasted several minutes. She entered the liquor store presumably to get away from him and he followed her into the store and brought her back out, where he continued to tell her that “you will not disrespect me” multiple times. The officer may have simply been doing his job. The woman never appeared to make any gestures but may have said something that set the officer off. His tone and demeanor seemed quite aggressive in the opinion of this bystander.
Meanwhile as this was going on, people continued to roll up to the liquor store and go in.
Later, the women’s car was still parked at North Side Liquor but they were not there. Whether they were arrested or not was not known.
Earlier in the night, there was a standoff at 1514 North Madison.
NorthIowaToday.com received a call from “Curtis” Friday morning, who lives in the area of the standoff. He said “I wanted to tell you that the law enforcement there was very rude, to me and your reporters. We were just standing there watching and they were aggressive and threatened to arrest us.”
Another man, who lives across the street from 1514 North Madison, and several other bystanders echoed his words, said that “MCPD won’t come down here. They are afraid to.”
This reporter was also on the scene of the standoff and most of the law enforcement was friendly although they would not answer any questions.
At the time this article was being written, an email popped in my inbox, from out-going City Councilman Jeff Marsters, addressed to Police Chief Michael Lashbrook. It said ” Chief, Is there anything the city council can do to assist in the ongoing North End issues. Even when budgets are tight – city governments number ONE priority should be safety for the citizens. Non of the recent events do any favors making Mason City attractive to outsiders.”