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Seeing the Big Picture In Mitchell Crooks' Video

July 18, 2002

All the outcry by public officials and others over the arrest of Mitchell Crooks, following his videotaping of the police-beating incident in Inglewood, is curious for one reason ("National Activists Decry Inglewood Incident," July 15). The crimes for which he was arrested (and which have yet to be proved in court) have nothing to do with the videotaping. What the videotaping did was merely raise Crooks' profile.

If the crimes he allegedly committed did not exist, there would be nothing to arrest him for. Those who are "outraged" by the arrest and who are raising money to help in Crooks' legal defense would do well to bear this in mind.

Dennis Hanrahan

La Habra

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I think it is interesting, if not bizarre, that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) considers burglary and hit-and-run to be "minor offenses" ("$10,000 Is Sought for Defense of Man Who Videotaped Beating," July 14). Minor to whom? I would ask. I am sure this has to be very discomforting to her constituents, some of whom have been victims of these crimes, as well as to our L.A. city officials who have been decrying the heinous nature of just such crimes.

Robert E. Wilson

West Hills

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How often do cops get bloodied--even a little--on the job? Not often. So when Officer Jeremy Morse is seen bleeding on the now-infamous videotape, you know he's not going to be pleased. Cops are human, and no amount of silly "sensitivity training" will ever change that fact. When Morse punched Donovan Jackson after he was handcuffed, yes, that was probably going over the line. But I wouldn't define it as "brutality." Especially considering that we don't really know the exact events leading up to this incident.

But at the very least, we know that Morse's ear is cut and bleeding. Jackson caused this. Then he got handcuffed and punched one time too many. Is that not a fair assessment? Morse shouldn't be fired. And he won't be. He should be suspended for a while, maybe, as he is now. But no more, no less. Once again, a piece of videotape is hideously blown out of proportion.

Phil Rosenberg

Los Angeles

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If the officers are guilty of excessive force in the arrest, this does not make the young man they arrested innocent. The excessive actions of Jackson caused the police to react as they did. It would seem that both parties should be held accountable.

Richard A. Reynolds

Lomita

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I was stopped for driving with expired tags and directed to correct the problem. There was no hassle. I guess "driving while white" is a big advantage.

Ann Bien

Anaheim

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