Redemption Song?

CITY HALL IS NOT USUALLY CONSID-ered Party Central. (The first mayor ever to quote the Beastie Boys, Steve Bartlett, once said: “In Dallas, you’ve got to fight for your right to party. “) But at the Bob Marley Festival at City Hall Plaza in late April, police showed unprecedented tolerance toward beer-drinking, pot-smoking reggae fans.

Known for overzealous crowd control at Texas-OU weekends, the World Cup, and Cowboys victory parades, Dallas police were a more subtle presence amid the approximately 3, 000 people at the annual memorial to the late Rastafarian. Only six officers were assigned to the all-day event, which ended with no fights, no injuries, and just two arrests. No suspicious-smelling cigarettes were seised; in fact, when festival promoter Paul Wirkes announced “a special thanks to Dallas’ Finest, ” the red-eyed crowd cheered without the slightest hint of sarcasm. “The cops understand what’s going on, ” Wirkc added, “and they’re coo! with it. “


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