By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Congratulations on a superb and timely issue on “Cops — Rethinking the LAPD” [cover stories, September 6–12]. Kudos for including Joe Domanick and Charles Rappleye, and especially Christopher Lisotta. It’s great that you are once again reporting news of specific interest to your large gay and lesbian readership.
However, despite being well-written, “The Rainbow Badge” included several inaccuracies. The article reported that the first formal gay and lesbian law-enforcement organization founded in Southern California was established by “two officers” from the LAPD who wanted to recruit “at the gay-friendly Sunset Junction Street Fair.” This is not only erroneous, but takes away credit from the three men through whose time and efforts the group was created. These included only one LAPD officer, along with a Sheriff’s Department deputy and a CHP officer. As the person who brought the three together, I also assisted them in creating an organization for the purpose of providing support for gay and lesbian officers and paramedics/firefighters, and to build rapport between the officers and the gay community. There has been much progress made in the last couple of years within the LAPD. This progress has come about mostly due to litigation and through the personal efforts and commitment of individual officers of the department. But there is still much more that needs to be done for there to be equity for gay men and lesbians.
—Sergeant Mitchell Grobeson
Your “Cops” issue had many absorbing articles scrutinizing an institution that has been the object of unprecedented interest in the last years, but truly I am sick and tired of people talking endlessly about police corruption and brutality. Do people really expect a police officer to be courteous, polite and sweet to a felon who has just robbed a store or assaulted an innocent citizen? For these fanatic defenders of human rights, it is quite all right to see people killed or badly maimed by criminals, but heaven forbid if a police officer uses force to arrest a burglar or a killer.
Re: Greg Goldin’s “Up All Night.” It was refreshing to see a positive piece written on an L.A. police officer. Even after 9/11, cops are still underappreciated for the difficult work they do. However, I found it very disconcerting to read that even an outstanding cop like Officer Ted Ureña is unwilling to risk the chance of being injured in order to “give another person a chance.” Specifically, he states that we cannot and should not question the shooting of Margaret Mitchell. If I shot an elderly, 102-pound woman with mental illness because she was argumentative and holding a screwdriver, I think some people would question my judgment. Police, sworn to “protect and serve,” are and should be held to a higher standard. I do not think it unfair to ask that they might occasionally have to risk minor injury in order to protect a mentally ill homeless woman from herself. While I sympathize with cops who are constantly second-guessed by people who never put their lives on the line, I would expect a person as thoughtful as Officer Ureña to admit that cops do make mistakes and that no one gains when the police expect to be given unquestioned authority to kill.
Does Officer Ted Ureña think that the police are always right, or is he capable, like many people, of having conflicted feelings about situations that he was not able to witness firsthand? I suspect, given the overall tone of the passages dealing with this question, that Officer Ureña thinks that the cops can do no wrong. And he’s one of the good cops? Heaven help us all.
—Wilbur R.C. Bryant II
Union City, New Jersey
Congratulations on your thorough exploration of the remnants of the Los Angeles Police Department. What a wonderful review of men and women of all colors and lifestyles who are now in touch with their community.
In the future, you might find it within the realm of thorough journalism to point out that these officers also are standing by, holding hands and humming while crime rises and arrests plunge. A department that looks like the community may seem like a good idea on the surface, but a lot of those homies from the hood are killers and dope dealers. Rafael Perez and Nino Durden, two officers who looked like the community, are now the poster children for the “bad old days.” ä
Again, I thank you for the insights, and the criminals of this town thank you for what you’ve done to a department they once feared.
NEW YORK TO MIKULAN: GET REAL
Re: “World to New York: Move On” [September 20–26]. I’m a recently transplanted New Yorker, so when I saw the title of Steven Mikulan’s Open City column last week, I was very curious as to what this outsider had to say. I was at least hoping for some intelligent angst about out-of-control nationalism, “Ground Zero” trinket hawkers, or the record number of tourists brought to the financial district to see our sacred crater. Unfortunately, it appears that Mikulan has only enough insight to provide a rather juvenile and superficial rant about New York’s collective inability to “move on.” It’s easy to base your opinion of a population on such obvious media events as presidential appearances, protests and public memorials, but obvious media events are the true idiot’s source of information. Mikulan really flaunts his lack of investigative initiative by reverting to the use of trite generalizations of what New Yorkers are — “tough guy[s].” I’d hate to see what would happen if he applied his penchant for uninformed classification to other groups of people. Maybe next time Mikulan should try interviewing some of the “many New Yorkers” he’s spoken to and get the real story — that we moved on a few days later, when we went back to work wondering if our subway car or bus or fucking neighborhood bodega would be the next hero-producing fireball. Sorry if the remembrance gets in your ass a little, Steven, we’ve had a tough year, the kind that you obviously don’t know much about. Turn off The Sopranos and do a real story.