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Fuhrman Invokes 5th Amendment

September 10, 1995

* Detective Mark Fuhrman, as a member of the LAPD, obviously was not always concerned with the constitutional rights of all citizens. But when he needed to, Fuhrman did not hesitate to invoke his constitutional rights by asserting his 5th Amendment privilege (Sept. 7). How ironic.

JON WHITE

Duarte

* If Fuhrman can exercise his 5th Amendment rights and Johnnie Cochran states this is proof that he planted evidence, then do we assume that O.J. Simpson exercising his right not to testify means he is guilty of both murders?

JACK RHODES

Brentwood

* Fuhrman may be a racist, but he has a right to assert his 5th Amendment privilege without Cochran judging him on TV. Will we ever hear what was in the suit bags taken by Robert Kardashian? I think not.

BILL GOURLAY

Westlake Village

* If I were a juror, Fuhrman's taped words of sick bravado spoken while trying to impress a female writer (Sept. 6) would not inflame me half as much as Simpson's taped words of murderous rage screamed while trying to break into his ex-wife's home, repeatedly. I think Judge Lance Ito has proved he is at least as wise as Solomon by his consistent rulings while the rest of the world is going nuts.

TOM THOMPSON

Balboa

* Coming so soon after the despicable Fuhrman tapes, "When You Can't See the Forest for the Leaf" (Opinion, Sept. 3) is inflammatory, misleading and a disservice to your readers. The allegations are presented as if they are facts, when in reality most of the points or witnesses were disproven in cross examination.

It's as if the defense positions were being presented to the readers again, lest they be forgotten, despite their inaccuracy. To me, it feels like the O.J. "Dream Team," plus one.

CLAY LEVINE

Los Angeles

* Fuhrman gave fair warning in 1981 when he tried to leave the force "under stress." The LAPD listened to him, said he was lying (that time he wasn't) and returned him to duty.

This puzzles me. Either Fuhrman wasn't convincing to his interrogators, or those who heard his statements felt he was no different than others on the force. I hope I'm wrong. But as an African American who knows of friends demeaned by some LAPD officers and who has had contact with others, reacting on a racist's false accusations about my son outside our home years ago (I had the incident expunged), I don't think I am. We can't wish racism away. The society denying that racism still exists and those who allowed Fuhrman to remain on the police force should be put on trial--not him.

DON A. NORMAN

Los Angeles

* It has become only too apparent since the release of the Fuhrman tapes that the inflammatory rhetoric being spewed out by some irresponsible black leaders is specifically designed to incite another riot in Southern California. These people have no regard for the possible loss of life or property, but are only interested in furthering their political agendas.

GERRY HOUSE-PETERS

San Juan Capistrano

* Things are starting to make some sense now, aren't they? Since he arrived, LAPD Chief Willie Williams' attempts to improve the department have been maligned, ridiculed, criticized and thwarted by the rank-and-file officers. Votes of no-confidence are regularly publicized, as the police union fights his efforts every step of the way.

Thanks to Fuhrman, we are able to see why. Few of the "blue gang" assembled by former Chief Daryl Gates have the spine or stomach to take orders from a man with a true sense of fairness and social justice. Hiding behind their "code of silence," they have sabotaged Williams at every turn, and made it unhealthy for right-minded fellow officers to come forward. There are more bad apples than Fuhrman in the LAPD. Eliminating them will be a painful, lengthy and costly process, but one that must begin immediately.

Williams deserves our respect and support as he continues the job he was hired to do: Clean up the LAPD.

MARK S. SCOTT

Long Beach

* Police officers in Los Angeles are trained from the first days of the academy to avoid stereotyping and cynicism when dealing with the public.

The guidelines described in the handbook are followed daily by 99% of the men and women of the LAPD, but nonetheless, LAPD officers are recruited from the neighborhoods and workplaces that are an integral part of the community. They represent the society in which we live. After seven years with the LAPD, I've seen the worst society has to offer, and yet I and the majority of the officers of the LAPD refuse to succumb to stereotyping and cynicism. The Los Angeles community should also try to do the same.

ANDRE BELOTTO

Los Angeles

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