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Let's Get the Whole Story in Beating

June 28, 2004

Re "Bratton IDs Officers in Beating," June 25: Along with thousands of other people across the Southland who have seen the Stanley Miller pursuit video, I have listened to the pundits and the condemnation of the LAPD. Though I admit that it doesn't look good on the surface, with nearly 20 years of law enforcement experience I tempered my initial reaction of surprise with the thought that I, along with everyone else who is just an observer, don't know the whole story.

I'm certain that the subsequent investigations will get to the bottom of "What in the world were you thinking?" as it pertains to Officer John Hatfield, and if he or others are found to be in violation of policies or laws, it will be addressed in the proper forum. But the parallels to Rodney King and it being a race issue are off the mark. Without knowing all of Miller's actions, from just a routine viewing of the tape, this isn't about race, it's about training, self-discipline and self-control. For all the time and effort spent by the LAPD building bridges and goodwill, a better comparison would be the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, where a few persons' actions can ruin years of work by thousands of people.

Dale Nowicki

La Mirada

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Outgoing do-nothing Mayor Jim Hahn and Councilman and ex-Police Chief Bernard Parks are now publicly lynching the police officer in what Chief William Bratton cautioned against -- a "rush to judgment" prior to any investigation.

David Meyers

Tujunga

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How could Hatfield say people don't know the "circumstances" because the videotape was so far away? It clearly shows that without hesitation he walked up to a man who was lying on the ground and immediately kicked him in the head, then knelt down and proceeded to hit him with his flashlight 11 times. Beat-your-brains-out kind of hits. You can just throw that "To Protect and to Serve" right out the window when it comes to blacks and other minorities.

Eddie Baken

Los Angeles

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It's not the tactics or policies or officer training that is the problem; it is the simple fact that the hiring practices of the Los Angeles Police Department have never changed. Hire the same and you get the same. LAPD hires the same mentality year in, decade out. This is the result of the same old hiring practices.

Michael Kersey

Corona

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