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Criticism of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck; The Times publishes grisly photo from the war in Afghanistan; the Senate rejects the 'Buffett rule'

April 19, 2012
  • LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has come under criticism by the L.A. Police Commission for failing to punish some police officers for excessive use of force.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has come under criticism by the L.A. Police Commission… (Los Angeles Times )

Criticizing the chief

Re "Beck facing rare criticism," April 16

The fact that suspects do stupid stuff that gets them killed or wounded is apparently lost on the L.A. Police Commission, which has criticized Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck for not punishing officers it found to have used improper force.

By insisting that errors of the head be punished, the message to the rank and file is to hesitate the next time — and you too can be among the "honored fallen." But a dead officer is not honored fallen; he has had his life unexpectedly ripped away, leaving family members behind.

And when is the last time someone who killed an LAPD officer was convicted and given the death penalty — and was actually executed?

In the 1970s, there was a police commissioner, Salvador Montenegro, who went on ride-alongs with officers to get a better feel for what life in a black-and-white is really like.

Dave Kaufman


Why even have a Police Commission if Beck can ignore its rulings? And why does the commission continue to heap praise on Beck even though he refuses to adequately punish officers it finds are guilty of wrongly using deadly force?

Robert Saltzman, a member of the commission, claims to be concerned that Beck's actions could undermine the discipline system of the Police Department and the authority of the commission. It's too late; we already have a police force that is loosely controlled and a commission that has zero credibility.

Stanley Gray

San Gabriel

I support the Police Commission's authority, but I object that it comprises civilians only.

As a former police dispatcher, I have witnessed firsthand the stress officers are under daily. You can only truly understand this when you hear an officer scream for help over his radio or, during a pursuit, hear the nervousness and stress in an officer's voice as he risks his life pursuing someone who could be very dangerous and unstable.

Officers may not always act perfectly, but until you can experience what's in their heads, please keep an open mind.

Beck is doing the best he can as chief. Though we hope for perfection by those who protect our loved ones, there are too many other factors that may prevent perfection, whether we agree with them or not.

Margie Estberg

West Hills

Photos from Afghanistan

Re "U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers," April 18

Despite a request by the military that The Times not show photos of U.S. paratroopers posing with the bodies of dead terrorists, this newspaper did so anyway. These paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division had lost 23 buddies to homemade or suicide bombs, which some of the terrorists in the photos had blown themselves up detonating.

One can well imagine the reaction of Franklin Roosevelt's government during World War II had an American newspaper given this kind of negative coverage to troops in the field, essentially providing ammunition for the enemy. Now this sort of reporting is routine among mainstream media outlets.

Arthur Hansl

Santa Barbara

I applaud you for publishing these ghastly photos. People need to see the reality of our war in Afghanistan.

Don't blame these young men; we taught them to dehumanize others and follow orders to kill.

Maybe through these photographs Americans will finally wake up and be moved to action. This war is not making us safer. The United States needs to get out of Afghanistan.

We must model peace and be the change we want to see in the world

Angie Mason

Los Angeles

I am 62 years old and have witnessed many horrible events as well as wonderful ones, but Wednesday's photo showing body parts has to be the most disgusting I have ever seen in print. I will not even give you the benefit of reading the full article.

The photo on the front page was bad enough; turning to complete the article made me shocked that you would print such a photo. So I stopped reading the paper to write this.

To what value or for what purpose have you done this? What you have done to me will not compare to the disrespect you have shown our fighting soldiers, who must carry the psychological and political fallout that will occur. Shame on you.

Priscilla Lum


U.S. militaryofficials asked The Times not to publish these photos, and personally I'm still not sure what the proper course of action for news organization is in cases like this.

Navy Capt. John Kirby said that publishing the photos could create a backlash causing needless casualties to our troops. Is this the same Pentagon that sent our troops to war without enough body armor or properly equipped vehicles?

I wonder which caused more needless casualties to our troops.

Steve Grimm

Fountain Valley

How is it possibly responsible for The Times to post those pictures of the soldiers with the severed body parts of a suicide bomber? You have given these people yet another reason to go after our soldiers. My son is at a forward operations base in Afghanistan with the 82nd and is a sitting duck.

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