Mobile’s 2016 Mardi Gras season set a record high for attendance and a record low for arrests going back at least a decade, Mobile Police Chief James Barber told the City Council during a regular meeting Wednesday morning.
Barber said police counted more than 1.1 million people taking part in this year’s festivities. According to information released by the MPD, officers made a total of 100 related misdemeanor arrests and six related felony arrests throughout the parading season.
More notably, the festivities were marred by a homicide during the peak of festivities Tuesday, at the corner of Conti and Scott streets downtown, Barber said. MPD officers also responded to an unrelated homicide on Springhill Avenue the same day.
Barber named 15-year-old Amir Parker as the victim of the shooting behind Popeye’s Chicken on Government Street. He said police responded to a call of shots fired, as the crowd was dispersing following the final parade of the night. The other homicide involved a 40-year-old Family Dollar employee named Gerald Westry. Investigations in both cases are ongoing.
Despite the “blemish,” Barber called it a “banner year for Mardi Gras” and councilors agreed. Councilors and Mayor Sandy Stimpson took time during the meeting to congratulate the work of MPD officers and the city’s public works department on a job well done.
“It’s a great event for the city,” Councilwoman Bess Rich said of the Mardi Gras season. “It’s unfortunate we had to end on a sour note. I hope they get to find out who’s responsible.”
Councilman Levon Manzie, who represents the downtown areas most affected by the parades, commended residents and was thankful to have so many visitors.
In other business, the council approved $300,000 in District 7 capital improvement funds for improvements at both the Japanese and the Mobile Botanical gardens. The money will be split evenly among a restroom project at the Japanese Gardens and improvements of the front entrance as well as other areas of the Mobile Botanical Gardens.
The council approved a $26,146 contract with Robert J. Baggett, Inc. for emergency parking deck repairs.
Councilors also authorized Stimpson to accept an Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grant for improvements to Doyle Park. Councilman C.J. Small said the Friends of Doyle Park would soon be announcing the reopening of the park overlooking the Brookley Aeroplex.
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