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The Penn Trial

July 06, 1986

To the credit of the citizens of San Diego, there has been a healthy respect for the law and faith in our judicial system during the trial and deliberations in the Sagon Penn case. This week the American judicial system yielded a partial verdict.

I know that there are strong feelings in many segments of the community about this case. Some people will feel happy with the decision, and some will not. I share the police officers' concerns and sadness over the loss of a co-worker and friend, especially in light of the fact that within the past few years nine officers have died in the line of duty. To the family of Officer Thomas Riggs, I must again express my sadness and my sympathy for their loss. I also share the concerns and sadness that have affected the family of Sagon Penn during the course of this ordeal.

But, however anyone feels, I want us all to remain thankful for the kind of judicial system we have in this country. This case resulted in months of testimony. The jury deliberations were one of the longest in the history of San Diego County. I believe we are fortunate to have a judicial system where our peers will give up their time to serve on a jury, listen to testimony and then jointly deliver, to the best of their abilities, a fair and impartial judgment.

With emotions running high, we must be extra careful to ensure that the rights of all of us are respected. I expect that, at a time like this, the leaders of the community, of the Police Department and the Police Officers Assn. will work even harder, now and in the future, to ensure that "cooler heads prevail" in any potentially inflammatory situations.

If anything has been learned from this long and painful experience, let it be that the citizens and the law enforcement officers of San Diego must work together to build a better relationship.

I believe that it is imperative that the police and the community begin working together to develop a positive and a cooperative working relationship. I believe that the people of the community want this, and I believe that the police officers also want this.


4th District councilman

San Diego

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