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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Many Issues to Consider in LAPD's Videotaped Beating of Black Suspect

June 29, 2004

Re "Beating of Black Suspect Puts Bratton's Race Inroads to Test," June 28: I find it a monumental sign of our community characteristic that not one person involved in this incident wants to step up and take personal responsibility for his actions. Everybody is up in arms over the treatment Stanley Miller received at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, yet I have not heard one single person say that the whole thing could have been avoided if Miller had not allegedly broken the law.

I have heard Miller complain about his injuries, but he has yet to apologize for allegedly stealing a car and running from the police, putting their lives and the lives of innocent civilians at risk. Where is his responsibility for his part in this?

At the same time, it sounds like the officers involved are trying to make excuses for their behavior instead of just standing up and admitting their adrenaline got the better of them. If more people would take personal responsibility for their actions, there might be fewer incidents like this.

Erik Bailey

Westlake Village

Talk about barking up the wrong tree! The big headline in the California section Sunday, "Bratton Vows to Review Police Use of Flashlights" (June 27), seems to me to get it all wrong.

Surely what he should be reviewing is the use of excessive force by a policeman on a restrained person. Although it's worse to use a weapon (in this case the flashlight), even repeated blows with a fist would constitute wrongdoing according to what we can see in the video.

Police simply must not be allowed to overstep their bounds or misuse their power.

Louise Buck

San Diego

Here we go again. I am completely outraged by the community and political response to the videotaped beating of Stanley Miller. Never mind that Miller had allegedly stolen a car and endangered countless lives while fleeing police for nearly half an hour before bailing out and running from officers. Most important, never mind that Miller was only slightly injured when taken into custody. Judging from the community response, one would think that Miller was gunned down in cold blood while handcuffed and helpless.

Where is the community outrage when innocent men, women and children are killed in drive-by shootings that are rarely solved, mostly because of witnesses' refusal to cooperate with LAPD officers? As the father of two African American boys, I fear for their safety, but not at the hands of overzealous, brutal, racist cops. I am more fearful of other black men in the community than I ever will be of police officers. I can teach my sons not to break the law or run from the cops, but I can't tell them not to be black, which is apparently all it takes in Los Angeles to become a target.

So remember, readers, if your sons were to get killed, so long as the LAPD didn't do it, few would care.

Charles Q. Clay III

Long Beach

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