Belle Isle is not a drunk mess and the Times Dispatch is sorry for making you think it was

by | Jun 16, 2015 | POLITICS

Richmond Police have reached out to the Times Dispatch to let them know Belle Isle is not a massive party island, contrary to
Richmond Police have reached out to the Times Dispatch to let them know Belle Isle is not a massive party island, contrary to
a letter-to-the-editor the newspaper ran earlier in the month.

“The only thing that has been heightened this year is citizen comment and media attention,” Lt. Tim Wyatt told the TD in a piece by former Style Weekly writer Ned Oliver, clarifying the emperor has no clothes and you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. “But for us, it’s status quo. The policing is normal down there.”

According to police data acquired by Oliver, crime is actually down on the summer hotspot, with a 56 percent drop in May compared with five years ago, and 37.5 percent compared with last year.

“If you have 1,000 people out there, you may have 100 people drinking and 10 of them causing a problem,” Wyatt said. “We focus on people causing a problem.”

Fuckn’A, man.

The letter-to-the-editor painted a different picture, and was sadly shared thousands of times by like-minded assholes.

In a piece titled “Belle Isle has become a drunkfest,” TD reader Eric Johnston put on his puritan hat and buckled shoes and said he was “disgusted and disheartened” at what he saw:

I have lived in the area for more than a decade and the situation has gotten worse over the years. Instead of monitoring the area and enforcing alcohol and littering laws, city authorities have decided to look the other way and the partiers know this and take full advantage. Families now avoid the island because they fear a confrontation with aggressive drunks. As a result, the area is now visited by a small segment of the city residents.

Hey Johnston, eat a dick – I’ve been coming to the river for the last decade too, and beyond a few juggalos getting rowdy, the worse I’ve seen is a few drunk spats, some glass bottles, and some leash-less dogs.

Other than that, it’s hot as hell and Richmond’s pool-less, nature loving population is simply enjoying the season and trying to stay cool.

And kudos to RPD for not running rampant busting folks with cozies having a good time. I remember a time a few years ago when I made the mistake of bringing some glass bottles to the island and some UC cops flashed their badges and asked us politely to throw them out.

No harm, no foul, no drunk in public.

But if Johnston is scared to go to Belle Isle because there’s too much party, he’s more than welcome to head over to Brown’s Island and sit on the nicely manicured grass and sip on a Sprite.

In case anyone is wondering (or missed it) CBS 6 did their own “HOLY SHIT, PEOPLE DRINK AT THE RIVER!” piece and is has just as much fearmongering:

So continue having yourself a good time at the river, but please don’t take advantage of RPD’s friendly stance – follow the old “don’t be that guy” rule: stay hydrated, DON’T BRING GLASS BOTTLES, and be kind to your neighbors.

Editor’s note: I miss read the original letter and apologize greatly – it was written to the TD’s editor, not by the TD’s editor, so yea – here’s our clarification.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




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