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Ed, Here's Your Man

May 01, 1988

San Diego Police Chief Bill Kolender's recent pronouncements about the apparent attack on Doyle Wheeler in Spokane should commend him to Ed Meese for one of those top jobs at Justice he can't get anybody to take, ("Wheeler Denies Staging Torture-Slaying," April 22).

Rather than look into the possibility that renegade San Diego police officers might have assaulted Wheeler in retaliation for his testimony in the Sagon Penn case, Kolender prefers to run off at the mouth about how it's all "ridiculous" and a hoax. He can't even wait for the local police to finish investigating.

Yet, those local police seem, so far, to be taking it seriously. They are calling it "attempted murder." Of course, Kolender has the advantage of speaking from a thousand miles away and without benefit of knowing the evidence. This gives him a fresh perspective, so that, as usual, there is no danger of the chief being confused by the facts.

Kolender should be doing his best to correct the internal problems for which he is responsible that led to the Sagon Penn tragedy and the unfortunate conduct of his department during the trial in "losing" and "finding" crucial evidence at convenient times. He should be trying to assist the local authorities in the Spokane area in finding out whether any of his officers might be responsible for assaulting Wheeler. Instead, he is busy trying to discredit his critics, of which Wheeler is one.

This kind of thinking would fit in well in the Meese Department of Justice. Kolender thinks like Meese, the Elmer Fudd of law enforcement, the Mad Hatter of legal disaster, the "Fat Flop" as "Top Cop." Ed, you've found your man.

EVAN C. McKENZIE

Encinitas

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