Letters To The Editor


October 04, 2004

Release of tape would impede review of death

It saddens me to see that The Sun is still trying to create the impression that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has something to hide by not immediately releasing the tape of the removal of Ifeanyi A. Iko from his cell ("Release the Iko tape," editorial, Sept. 29).

It has been explained to Sun reporters many times that until the formal reviews of the case are concluded, it is not appropriate to release this tape. The reason is simple: The reviews of this case need to be done, in this case by the FBI, in an atmosphere as free as possible from conjecture and innuendo.

During my 10-year tenure in Baltimore state's attorney's office, I saw firsthand that justice and fairness to all parties were best served, particularly in highly publicized and serious cases, by investigations and reviews conducted without outside involvement or analysis.

This case has already undergone several reviews by law enforcement and prosecutorial bodies. As The Sun's editorial noted, reviews were conducted by this department's internal investigations unit, by the Maryland State Police and by the prosecutor and grand jury for Allegany County.

Now the case is in the hands of the FBI for yet another review, which I welcome.

But what continues to amaze me is that The Sun's reporting on this case is based in large part on the word of inmates rather than the hard-working men and women in our correctional institution. In the Iko case, the inmates whose words are being accepted at face value are being held in a segregation unit of the Western Correctional Institution for a reason.

The Sun's coverage of Mr. Iko's death continues to be so inflammatory as to negatively influence the public and policy-makers. The language in The Sun's editorial suggests it has prejudged the actions of the officers without allowing the investigatory process to be completed.

I believe this is harmful to any investigation of this matter, and will therefore maintain my objection to the public release of the tape of Mr. Iko's cell extraction until all investigations are completed.

Mary Ann Saar


The writer is secretary of Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Bear hunt betrays barbarous attitude

What gives the state of Maryland the moral right to sponsor and encourage the cold-blooded murder of bears ("Suit filed to stop black-bear hunt in Western Maryland," Sept. 28)? Why does the state make this tragic killing of beautiful, thinking, feeling beings into an event that insensitive, violence-favoring people see as some sort of legitimate celebration of blood-lust?

What so-called sport is there in murdering animals for fun, animals that, like humans, have struggled to survive over all of history, raise their offspring and enjoy their days on Earth?

Bears are as beautifully and mysteriously complex as humans in the genetic and biochemically miraculous processes that give life to all animals and humans alike. Those who murder and condone the murder of these bears give zero value to their existence and degrade their very own human soul by demanding the death of an animal to satisfy their craving for amusement.

What a sad failure to evolve to a higher level of being we demonstrate when we resort to violence-based means of managing animals instead humane, science-based methods.

Jerry Zavage


Knott family merits a much kinder tone

I am ashamed of the article The Sun printed regarding the Knott family ("Descendants of Knott caught in web he feared," Sept. 30).

The city and the area have benefited so much from the many contributions - monetary and otherwise - of the Knott family.

They are true sons and daughters of Baltimore, and I felt the tone of the article was nasty and inappropriate.

Kate Wyatt-Burrows


Health cuts force terrible choices

We are living in tight budget times here in Maryland. However, that does not mean that cuts in health care for children and the elderly should follow ("Decision time in Annapolis," editorial, Sept. 24).

I have worked with elderly citizens in Baltimore, men and women whose incomes averaged about $500 a month. For them, increased out-of-pocket expenses for medical care can only come from cutting spending for one expense: food.

This not an acceptable choice.

Michelle LeFurge


Ehrlich takes stand against rising costs

Many thanks to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for thwarting an insidious legislative scheme to curry favor with state employee unions and to create pressure for tax increases by exacerbating the state's fiscal problems ("Ehrlich skirts law on health," Sept. 29).

First, the previous Democratic administration left us with a gigantic structural deficit and a huge unfunded mandate, the Thornton formula for funding schools. Then the Democratic-controlled General Assembly denied us revenues from legalized slots with which to eliminate that deficit and fund the Thornton law.

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