One arrest and little else to do for over a dozen cops
By Gabriele Fellows
Clouds of smoke, whimsical drumbeats and the echo of playful laughter was absent this year at Redwood Park in Arcata.
In years past, the 4/20 celebration has regularly taken place in this spot. The annual celebration usually draws large crowds to the grassy knoll tucked between the trees in the Arcata Community Forest. But this year, the party was a bust.
“When it was sunny, there was like…the whole field was people, and they had like little barbeque pits,” one local woman said. “That was nice.”
Despite the minimal stoner turnout, police officers were on hand, ready to make arrests if a crime was committed.
“Oppression” was one man’s reply when asked about the police presence.
The City of Arcata issued a press release four days prior informing the community that agencies would be increasing their enforcement of laws governing the park — especially pertaining to the ban on smoking.
Although the turnout was skimpy at best, a minor was arrested for smoking pot just after 4:20 p.m. For this lone arrest, multiple agencies deployed over a dozen officers, along with roadblocks, traffic signs and even a mobile command center.
The Critical Incident Response Vehicle cost $370,000. The vehicle is to be used for public safety during natural disasters, emergencies and critical incidents — how the events at Redwood Park could be classified as a critical incident remain unclear (Chapman refused to answer questions from Sentinel).