Police action: Baltimore isn't Los AngelesA video showing...

the Forum

March 25, 1991

Police action: Baltimore isn't Los Angeles

A video showing the brutal beating of an apprehended and unresisting man by several Los Angles police officers is direct evidence against them. The subsequent disclosure of police radio traffic in which officers joked about the beating is indirect evidence against the command officers of that department. Assuming the command personnel could have been listening, these renegade officers testified, as it were, against themselves. Obviously, they didn't think the command structure would hold them accountable. This was a terrible indictment of that department's leadership.

It takes physical and moral courage and intelligence to be a good police officer; nothing in the video and nothing on the tapes reflects that these particular L.A. police officers or their superiors have such qualities. And as bad as the beating was, that was not the worst of it: These officers and their superiors would have had to cover up the facts of the beating by bringing false charges of assault and resisting arrest against the beaten man. This would require perjury, among other crimes.

In the Baltimore area we have good, not perfect, police forces. They didn't just happen to be that way. In a time when there's lots to complain about, this is something to be pleased about. For instance, the Baltimore City Police Department made great strides under William Donald Schaefer's mayoral tenure and, of course, there are some fine leaders within that organization today. Let us not forget to give credit to all the brave and honest men and woman who hit the streets - not us - every day and night in the Baltimore metro area.

Dan Hetrick



I have been a Baltimore police officer for over 16 years. Daily, we are seeing reports about the atrocious actions displayed by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. I can assure you this is not the norm.

Throughout the years, I have seen many kind actions by police officers that go "beyond the call of duty." However they never receive the attention, if any, the incident in Los Angeles is getting. In every profession you have certain individuals who abuse their power. I hope, in light of all the intense media publicity surrounding the Los Angeles incident, the public does not feel that all, or even a minority, of police officers treat people as the Los Angeles officers did on that particular evening.

Tony Petralia


The writer is a member of the traffic investigation unit.

Thanks, governor

In recent weeks The Sun and The Evening Sun have received many letters from readers which were critical of William Donald Schaefer and blame him for everything from potholes to the budget deficit. Some fault him for having three residences, one in Baltimore, one in Anne Arundel County and a condominium in Ocean City. What is the big deal? This does not interfere with running the state of Maryland.

As for the budget deficit, every state in the nation is affected, some more than others; we are in a recession. You can't blame Governor Schaefer for the recession.

Schaefer was asked to be part of the U.S. delegation that went to Kuwait, and he was criticized for that, too. Why was Schaefer asked? you may ask. It was because he takes the time to promote the port of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. When Maryland's economy turns around and jobs are created due to the efforts of Governor Schaefer, I hope his critics let him know of a job well done and send a letter to the newspapers.

Frank Britcher

Stewartstown, Pa.

A job well done

A recent editorial stated that the gulf war would be fought at home, too. The editorial said that a likely target of terrorists would be the Pentagon and the Capitol building, and that President Bush had, in this respect, "seriously misled the American people."

Reference was made to the IRA bombing of the British prime minister's office (That Saddam Hussein had called for a holy war against the enemies of Iraq was known.) But to relate the IRA bombing to the gulf war and terrorism in Washington is stretching it a bit.

I will wage dollars to donuts that more than one person, when reading of the explosion at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, thought about the holy war. This was my reaction, prompted by The Evening Sun's editorial about war on the American home front.

Do other readers think that President Bush misled his people? I hardly think so. In fact, had the president not acted as forthrightly as he did, thousands of men of Western nations ` Americans among them ` might still be human shields stationed in front of Iraq's military and industrial installations.

Remember Winston Churchill's tribute to the RAF in World War II and paraphrase a bit: "Never before in the field of human conflict did so many owe so much to (so few)" - one man, the president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Gordon Himelfarb


MAIF reform

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