Initial reports of St. Patrick's Day melee lacked transparency

May 16, 2012

If not for reporter Peter Hermann's assiduous reporting of the mayhem in the city onSt. Patrick's Day, we may never have known that pandemonium was the rule of the streets that night ("St. Patrick's Day violence exceeded initial reports, police dispatch tapes show," May 13).

It's common knowledge that police records are sometimes "massaged" in order to maintain a certain positive image. But to exclude certain events from police reports is unacceptable. What plays a major role in this false reporting is a desire to portray Baltimore City, and especially the Inner Harbor, as tourist attractions.

The St. Patrick's Day street scrums as reported by Mr. Hermann depicted a city on the brink of chaos.

Mayor Rawlings-Blakeand Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III — and his successor — have to be more transparent when compiling these reports. It is important they be accurate and truthful because, sadly, it could mean the difference between life and death for the citizens of Baltimore and the visitors who travel here.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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