Blinding the police to suspects' race impairs...


June 21, 2000

Blinding the police to suspects' race impairs enforcement

I couldn't believe it when I read that the Maryland Court of Appeals criticized Frederick County for stopping a driver because he and his passenger were black ("Frederick police violated man's rights in '97 vehicle stop, Md.'s top court rules," June 15).

This despite the fact that their car was "similar to the getaway car used in a robbery" and that they, "like the three robbery suspects," were black.

Give me a break. Hasn't chasing cars that look like the one used in a crime been standard police procedure since there have been cops and robbers?

Totally eliminating race as a factor in solving crime can be a real hindrance to law enforcement.

Aren't the chances of finding a criminal increased substantially by knowing the suspect's color? One could compare that to knowing the color of the getaway car.

To argue otherwise is to turn the attempt to eliminate racial profiling into a real witch hunt -- where racism becomes the witch.

It also helps criminals escape justice.

Mary F. Kollner


Commuting death sentence was a slap in the face . . .

Under the Glendening administration, we have watched millions of Maryland dollars go into Delaware and West Virginia because the governor is too righteous to have slots here, although the lottery is acceptable.

We have seen Maryland legislators treated at taxpayer expense to a day of entertainment at the Preakness.

And now the ultimate slap in the face to the citizens of Maryland: the governor commutes the death sentence of a vicious murderer.

Jerry Chosak

Owings Mills

. . . as was Sun's lampoon of death penalty supporters

Cartoonist Mike Lane hit a new low in depicting the majority of Maryland who favor the death penalty as "yahoos" in his June 9 editorial cartoon.

It is interesting, if not tragic, that while Mr. Lane's cartoon denigrated those who seek justice for the victim of a twice-convicted murderer, The Sun published a chart depicting the ever-growing number of murders in Baltimore this year.

Robert L. Hanley Sr.


Downtown partnership didn't back after-hours club

I am writing to set the record straight concerning The Sun's reference to the Downtown Partnership "backing" an after-hours club in the article "2 clubs seeking all-night permits" (May 23).

While we encourage nightlife, residential and business development downtown and in nearby areas, the partnership does not advocate for any establishment.

Our policy is to review the security, parking and management plans in conjunction with the police department, and either oppose the permit request based on these findings or remain neutral.

After review of the safety, parking and management plans for the China Room, we found no reason to oppose the permit and remained neutral.

Michele Whelley


The writer is interim president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

Don't rush to blame officials for deadly fire

In his column on the city's recent tragic fire, Dan Rodricks notes that human decency forbids us to speak ill of the dead ("A deadly blaze casts light on a still-divided Baltimore," June 12).

But might I suggest that, before we blame the big, bad city, the heartless utilities or the man who owned the house, we should wonder about the four children in the house, under 10 years of age, all with different last names, and inquire whether there's an issue of a father here?

There are many questions and answers needed here before people begin mumbling about evil bureaucracies.

Norris Walker


How could no one be guilty in Super Bowl slayings?

On the morning after the Super Bowl outside the Cobalt Lounge in Atlanta, did Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar stab themselves to death ("Atlanta jurors acquit 2 of deaths," June 13)?

Joseph Larson


International Criminal Court warrants American support

It appears that concern over U.S. sovereignty will once again take precedence over international justice ("As talks start, U.S. still seeks changes in international court," June 12).

U.S. policy-makers are trying to alter the statutes for the International Criminal Court (ICC) over concerns about possible trials of U.S. soldiers serving overseas. But a primary function of the ICC is to act in a complementary manner to national criminal jurisdictions.

Complementarity means that U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity will first be tried in a U.S. court of law. Only if the United States does not or cannot adequately try the case would the ICC have jurisdiction.

It is time for the United States to abandon its isolationist tendencies and help the world achieve international justice.

Complementarity assures the United States of its sovereignty. But our failure to sign the statute may mean another lost opportunity for international justice.

Eric K. Leonard

Bel Air

State needs mass transit, not 12-lane bridge for cars

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