Knowing both of the men featured in your (June 8) cover story, "Masterpiece," I read it with great interest. I thought Thad did a great job of capturing the intelligence, compassion and decency I have come to recognize in both Chief Mills and Blaze. It was gratifying to see them exchange points of view without rancor and with a level acceptance. Good journalism!
Having known Blaze somewhat well over the past four or five years, I find it incomprehensible that he could have been the instigator of the hostile encounter with the officer(s) and that he might have physically resisted or lashed out in the manner alleged. I don't know Sgt. LaFrance, so I'm not able to comment on his character or veracity but, as between the Blaze I do know and the allegations leveled against him, I find only Blaze's side of the story to be credible. For as long as I've known him, Blaze has always been a positive nonviolent force in our community. He has always encouraged more participation in community events and I've never known him to utter a harsh word about anyone, whether law enforcement or civilian.
I also find it odd that an off-duty officer would take it upon himself to apprehend a simple trespasser with the reported level of force, given the long history of trespassing into the Balloon Track and all of the waterfront buildings with little proactive policing. The constant graffiti on the engines and the multiple fires in the NCRA building and the ice plant provide evidence of this lack of police having prioritizing such trespasses. I hope this will all be resolved as a millisecond of misinterpretation that led to an unnecessary physical confrontation and that cooler heads will prevail before the legal process drags a good man into the meat-grinder system.
Bronco Weseman, Eureka