I have read the lead letter from Monday (“Police work: The stories you don’t hear”) several times, and I fail to see what about the story deserves retelling. Is it that the cop used two sets of cuffs instead of one? Either way you are going to have bruises on your wrists for days. Is it because the cop was friendly and told another cop to “take good care of” the man who turned himself in? The reason we don’t and shouldn’t hear more stories like this is because the behavior described is exactly how cops should act.
I understand the writer’s sentiment. It is far too easy to read the news and get angry at everyone who wears a badge. The truth is that there are tons of well-trained cops doing great work every day. However, that doesn’t erase the events happening throughout the country where individuals, many of them black, are needlessly killed by the police. Perhaps the cops involved are “bad apples” or need better or different types of training. Whatever the reason, people are being killed for committing minor offenses and in some cases doing nothing wrong at all. This is not the type of society I want to live in.
Treating scenes like the one the writer describes as if they are news diminishes the visibility of serious problems with the police that need to be addressed. I wonder what the family and friends of Justine Damond think about that cop using two sets of cuffs (“Woman who called 911 shot, killed by Mpls. cop,” July 17). How do Diamond Reynolds and her daughter feel about those friendly cops who took care of the black man who turned himself in? I am glad that man was treated well and that the letter writer has witnessed similar treatment while giving his talks, but we need to talk more, not less, about the issues that exist in our police departments and work to fix them so that hopefully one day the only thing left to talk about is the good.
Arlo Lyle, Minneapolis
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Like a lot of people, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the strained relations between minority communities and the police. On Monday, however, I got a firsthand glimpse at one of the effects of this issue. A woman I know, who happens to be black, was visibly upset after reading the story about the woman who was shot Saturday after calling 911.
She told me about the time when she had called the police about her neighbors being too noisy. She said that an officer had, in a very harsh tone, demanded to see her ID. She felt bullied and intimidated. She said, “That’s what happens when you call the police. I’ll never call them again.”
It’s scary to think that good and decent people, such as I know this woman to be, are afraid to call the police when a situation dictates it, because they don’t believe the police will treat them fairly and courteously. It’s a criminal’s dream!
Karl D. Sommer, Bloomington
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I’m deeply distressed that an Australian citizen in pajamas who had actually called the police because there was an apparent intruder was shot dead in your city without apparent cause by a trigger-happy policeman operating without video surveillance equipment with which he and his companion were apparently equipped, and furthermore the video equipment in the police vehicle was not operating, either.
In addition, it would appear that the woman was shot, while standing beside the driver’s side window of the police car, by the second policeman sitting on the passenger side inside the vehicle, and that no weapon was found at the site, which would indicate that the woman was unarmed.
One can only hope that the policeman concerned should be charged with homicide. However, as appears usual in these cases, the killer concerned will get off scot-free, or at worst be given a desk job for a few months such as the apparent vagary of the so-called U.S. justice system demands.
Greg Angelo, Melbourne, Australia
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My fiancé is moving to Minneapolis later this year from New Zealand, so reading about the shooting of Justine Damond struck a personal chord with me. In a country where cops carry Tasers — if anything — the idea of a police shooting seems unimaginable. The story is already running in New Zealand papers, and I’m sure it will cement many people’s already-negative opinions of the U.S. as a gun-obsessed nation whose citizens aren’t even safe from those who are supposed to protect them. Incidents like these diminish the stature of not only our cities and states, but of our country to those around the world. I would love to reassure my fiancé’s family and friends that, no, nothing like that could ever happen to him — but now I truly don’t know.
Anna Underhill, Minneapolis
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What is going on here? Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, Justine Damond. Enough is enough. We need new mayors, new police chiefs, totally reformed revised and reconstructed police training and performance reviews, a civilian review board with some real authority, and, most of all, a special prosecutor.
Dan Cohen, Minneapolis
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Even though police shootings are heartbreaking — no matter who, no matter where — until we hire infallible machines to replace police officers, this will happen again.
Sabina K.E. Miller, Eagan
HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM
Lewis’ spin is unimpressive, as is the entire process
So Jason Lewis correctly states that even with the Affordable Care Act, 28.2 million Americans remain uninsured. He then goes on say he will continue to work to help all Americans to get access to health care. He should start with a bill that actually moves in that direction. Unfortunately, the bill passed by the House and the one currently being formulated in the Senate move in exactly the opposite direction, as confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, leaving millions of Americans more without health care. A significant majority of Americans prefer the ACA (Obamacare) over the current repeal/replace bills under consideration, which are really nothing more than a massive tax cut for the wealthy paid for by taking health care away from more than 20 million citizens. Hopefully, the Senate bill will fail and Republicans there will be forced to work with Democrats to shore up the ACA’s insurance exchanges, and then Lewis and his House colleagues will come along. If not, we will need to wait for 2018, when maybe we will get the single-payer, Medicare-for-all solution.
David Aderhold, Eagan
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The Senate vote on its health care bill has been delayed so Sen. John McCain can recover from surgery, which is paid for by us taxpayers. As it does come to a vote, there are two main points to keep in mind about their bill that should tell you everything you need to know:
1) The bill was written in secret by 13 men — not one woman was allowed to participate — and the average age of the men is 61.
2) The senators have exempted themselves, members of the House and their staff from the bill.
Debby Rose, Shoreview
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How many individuals could have health care coverage if the CEO of UnitedHealth Group had not received $31 million in compensation last year? (“Minnesota executive pay raises outpaced U.S. peers,” July 16.)
Ann Hanna Walsh, Minneapolis