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
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.
Marina del Rey
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.
West Los Angeles
Ask one New Yorker if we give a damn what Los Angeles thinks about how we
choose to grieve when terrorists strike at the heart of our city. We don’t.
Mikulan suggests that we are afraid that the nation has forgotten. If anything,
I’m glad to be able to leave town without having to do the where-I-was-on-that-day
routine for the thousandth time. Additionally, for him to suggest that our credibility
is at stake because we can’t stop grieving is ridiculous. Whether we’re smiling
or smiling through tears, New York will be the nation’s greatest city until
someone bombs us flat.
But hey — thanks for checking in.
Brooklyn, New York
AMAZED AND CONFUSED
I just wanted to say that John Powers, Robert
Lloyd and Dave Shulman are three writers for the ages. I am perpetually grateful
that they grace our hazy city with their sharp wit, linguistic cunning and insightful
musings. Thanks, guys!
One question for Dave Shulman: Dave, I love every word, and I always get a
general idea of your philosophy and laugh a lot, but may I inquire: Just what
the hell are you talking about (this applies to all your columns)?
The name of a law firm was misspelled in a story
in last week’s issue about a union election at the Weekly (“Whose
Weekly Is It, Anyway?”). The law firm is Littler Mendelson.