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Trying Times for Police Officers

January 29, 2005

The Times makes two points in "No Room for Street Justice" (editorial, Jan. 25). First, the public is best served when incidents of alleged police abuse are investigated in a "more deliberate process" than was the case in Inglewood. The second point reminds police officers and agencies that they have a responsibility to remain professional and "discipline rogue officers."

Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn continues to miss the first point in his zeal to enforce the second. Mayors are elected to have foresight, not hindsight. A responsible leader with confidence in his organization would have recognized the officers involved had a right to due process that equaled the concerns of the community. Dorn should have directed his chief of police to conduct a thorough and fair investigation without being burdened by his public proclamation of their guilt.

If he had, instead of bending to the community activists, Inglewood wouldn't be opening the city's pocketbook now. That is the real message public officials and police agencies should heed from the jury award.

Eric E. Castano

Long Beach

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The Times has finally said something that is absolutely true: There is no place for street justice by police officers. But there is another truth that gets overlooked time and time again: Do as instructed by the police, don't resist us and don't fight us and nothing bad (except for some jail time if you committed a crime) will happen to you.

When you resist or fight us, the predictable is going to happen, and that is not street justice. That's us using force authorized by the law to take somebody who is fighting us into custody. For those of you who think it's easy to do so, I challenge you to attend a police academy for hands-on training to see what it's really like to put handcuffs on someone who doesn't want you to.

Sgt. Scott Anderson

Maywood

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) stated, "Justice still awaits in this case," referring to a jury award of $2.4 million to the Inglewood officers accused in the beating of a black teenager during an arrest (Jan. 22). She is right. The city of Inglewood and other activists who loudly condemned the officers should all issue public apologies.

I guess Waters believes in the criminal justice system only when it supports her own narrow views. The officers were wrongly prosecuted and fired as a result of weak politicians who refused to stand up and support the officers in the wake of public criticism. The jury in this matter showed great moral courage and common sense, where none existed previously.

Charles J. Dery

La Crescenta

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