In Park Heights, leave policing to the police

December 06, 2010

Your editorial, "Tension in Park Heights," in the December 5th paper, recommends an integrated patrol of African-American and Jewish residents for that neighborhood. Such an integrated force already exists. It is the Baltimore City Police Department, which has full responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in Park Heights and the rest of Baltimore.

The existence of private neighborhood groups adding their own vigilance to the safety of their communities may be helpful to the police in some ways, but in other ways, as the Shomrim case in Park Heights demonstrates, the capacity of such groups to endanger the larger community when they act unilaterally and extra-legally can be very unhelpful, to put it mildly.

Apart from this, but not entirely irrelevant, reports in The Sun have identified Eliyahu Werdesheim, the man accused of attacking an African-American citizen of Baltimore in this case, as a former member of an Israeli "special forces" unit. As such he would be, or have been, a part of the military enforcement branch of a government that stands accused of discriminating against non-Jews within and outside of its own community, sometimes in the most heinous ways.

It is quite appalling that the government of the United States has been a party to that discrimination via tens of billions of dollars in financial support and unbalanced political support because of the peculiar political condition that exists in this country right down to the municipal level. But must we really import their enforcers and give them sway in the streets of Baltimore with the unhappiest potential consequences for the whole community, including its very important and supportive Jewish members?

G.J. Price III, Glyndon

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