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Inmate Assaults

May 29, 1988

The scariest situation known to civilized man is that of having out-of-control police officials. When the very people entrusted to enforce the laws unlawfully take unto themselves the authority to abuse and humiliate helpless citizens who are placed in their custody, we all suffer.

With regard to the current controversy about jail beatings, it seems to me that there is altogether too much smoke for there to be no fire. It is long past time that the people of San Diego County know the truth of these allegations.

Given the record of police abuse in San Diego County revealed in the past several years, given the natural proclivity of police officers to defend their own, given the seriousness of these many allegations by numerous responsible citizens of this county, given the statements made by the sheriff defending his deputies and suggesting there has been no wrongdoing by any of his people, and given that the sheriff has stated for the record his policy that people who "become combative" may be stripped and thrown into padded cells, it is long past time that this whole situation be examined by a grand jury.

It seems to me that a policy whereby a determination by a jail employee that a citizen has "become combative" justifies physical abuse of that citizen is a policy that needs examination by the people who at some future time may be subjected to that policy. I fear that examination by other police officials may be somewhat less than objective.

Come on--must the press do all the work? Or is that what a grand jury is for? Let's get some of these allegations and denials on the record, under oath.

C. M. NELSON

Oceanside

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