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Harassment

September 28, 1987

I know this isn't a unique story, but I have to tell it.

Recently a friend of mine was stopped by officers of the Sheriff's Department. He was frisked and racially slurred. His car was searched and trashed, his wallet illegally rifled through and the officers called in a backup to add to the panic and confusion. When asked why he was stopped in the first place, one deputy who would not give his name said, "It's none of your business."

After he was checked and cleared (not even a moving violation) and now addressed as "Sir," he was allowed to leave.

I know that "peace" officers are under a great deal of stress and I pray that this particular officer is only one bad apple in a barrel of others who are cautious yet humane. But other than writing letters to newspaper editors (obviously he wouldn't have a case if he took it to court), is there anything that can be done to protect citizens against unnecessary, unethical and unconstitutional harassment by those in authority?

PAM RATTI

Los Angeles

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