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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Seattle Police: Brutality case, kiss with Explorer violate public trust

Shove was clearly case of police brutality

I am very angry about the lack of prosecution [“No charges in slamming case,” NWSaturday, August 1] against the police officer who brutally attacked Christopher Harris, the young man currently in a coma after being thrown into a wall by this policeman.

This is totally unacceptable. The surveillance video of the incident shows it is clearly police brutality; the victim did not even have a weapon. The officer could have caught this man easily and applied handcuffs without a problem.

If this is “standard police procedure,” as the news report stated, we are all in big trouble!

— Carol Meyer, Seattle

All too often, police escape consequences for their actions

Police misconduct is rampant in this country, as indicated recently by the devastating injuries to Christopher Harris by a sheriff’s deputy. In this case, an officer was cleared after dealing a paralyzing blow to Christopher Harris against a concrete wall.

The county prosecutor said the officer could not be prosecuted because he had done it without malice, held a good-faith belief that the act was justifiable and used a standard takedown procedure.

A police spokesman referred to it as a tragic accident. A video of the incident demonstrates the assault was completely unnecessary and that the violence of the police assault was beyond all reason.

Rarely are police officers held accountable for questionable killings, torture, beatings, profiling and denial of civil rights.

Even before a police-misconduct issue is investigated, police organizations circle the wagons to deny any wrongdoing and complain they have a dangerous job, are underpaid and unappreciated.

This all may be true, and yes we should do something about it. However, none of this justifies the police using their special power to kill, injure or deny people their fundamental rights.

This happens largely to the poor and minorities now, but others in society will be next as the police problem escalates. It could even happen to college professors!

— Malcolm D. McPhee, Sequim

In a kiss, a violation of trust

Thank you for publishing the story [“Civilian panel backs move to suspend police officer,” NWFriday, July 31] about Officer Rob Mahoney’s suspension for kissing an Explorer.

As a former Seattle Police Explorer, all I can say is shame on Mahoney, and thank you to Heather Newstrom for having the courage to speak up.

Even if Heather was 18 years old, it was still a terrible thing for an officer to take advantage of his position and do something like that. The kids in the Explorer program trust and look up to the officers. The parents trust the officers to supervise their children on ride-alongs — and even overnight training activities.

This is yet another example of the deep-rooted problems with the Seattle Police Department, and I hope the sergeant in charge of the Explorer Program takes the initiative to sweep it clean.

What a shame for all the kids who thought these officers were going to teach them to be good cops.

— Erin Wenzel, Seattle

Comments | More in crime/justice, Public safety, Seattle, Seattle Police Department


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