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Fallout From Police Beating in Inglewood

July 15, 2002

Re "Racial Animus in Case Denied," July 12: The arrest of Mitchell Crooks shows what happens when people come forward to show police brutality. The timing of his arrest smacks of what one would expect in a police state. I suspect that if he had not videotaped a police officer slamming a handcuffed minor against a car and later punching that same minor, Crooks would still be walking the streets.

What kind of example does this put forward? If you dare come forward and show an abuse of force by law enforcement, look out for a witch hunt.

Steven Arias

Glendale

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Re Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn's premature comments regarding Officer Jeremy Morse's conduct: The videotape depicting the incident is disturbing, but it does not tell the whole story. Did Donovan Jackson deserve that type of treatment? Probably not. Are there mitigating events that perhaps shape or justify the officer's behavior? Maybe. Jackson's father, Coby Chavis, was driving around in a vehicle with expired license tags. Conversely, if Morse's behavior is found to be in violation of policy and civil rights, throw the book at him. Dorn should know better than to be spouting off before all of the facts are in.

Ernie Garcia

Redlands

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I'm stunned to read and see that once again police officers are using their authority to abuse the citizens they vow to protect. Steve Lopez's July 10 column, "Police Culture of Silence Meets the Roar of an Angry Crowd," rightly points out that this incident would never have been known if not for the videotape. Morse appears to have a history of abuse, and with most abusers, history is a good indication of future repetition. I hope that those with the power to act do so in order to protect the public.

Hector Valladares

Long Beach

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Lopez states that "most cops don't go around beating people up. The problem is you can't find any cops who'll report the ones who do." I am a 14-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department with patrol time at four different stations that patrol 13 separate contract cities. Lopez needs to pull his head out of his collection of old Joseph Wambaugh novels and smell the riot he's instigating.

Southern California cops are not only quick to make sure witnessed force is appropriately reported today, more and more often you see officers stepping in to thwart inappropriate force as it is being administered. Watch the tape closely and you will see one of the officers doing just that. Cops today find it more important to keep their jobs so they can provide for themselves and their families than risk losing it all for someone who crosses the line. This county has come a long way since the riots of '92. Don't throw it all away with "code of silence" allegations.

Thomas W. Oliver

San Dimas

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