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Sunday, Sep 21, 2014
Letter of the Day

Letter of the Day: Ferguson: Another potential debacle for America


Regarding “The rage in Ferguson: from the people’s point of view” (Other Views, Aug. 21):

I am a retired captain from the Miami-Dade Police Department and spent 30 years with that department. I was on the streets in Miami for the McDuffie riots and several former as well as subsequent civil disturbances. I have worked in the inner city and seen the problems. You would think we would have learned something by now, and yet the Ferguson tragedy is turning out to be another potential debacle for America and race relations.

The writer of the article refers to an average of 100 black men being killed in America annually by police, as though this is the primary cause of the death of black men in America. Is he implying that none were justified? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, each year about 7,000 black Americans are murdered in this country. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. New York City PD reports that through June 2012, 96 percent of the shooting victims in that city were black, and 97 percent of the shooters were black, in a city where only 25 percent of the population is black. That sounds like a big problem to me.

It is not my intent to attempt to mitigate or aggravate the circumstances in Ferguson, because like the writer of the article I do not know what happened on the street that day, and neither does anyone else in America except those who were present when it happened. Yet the governor of Missouri has called for vigorous prosecution when no indictment has been handed down. By reading media accounts and listening to pundits who are simply aggravating the condition, one would think the officer has been indicted, arrested, tried, convicted and simply awaiting sentencing. What if the officer is charged, tried and not convicted by a jury of his peers? Are we back to the ’80s then, and will the hard-working, law-abiding black Americans in Ferguson suffer like they did in Miami in 1980?

The writer, Otis Anthony, has already concluded that the officer was the one who “started all of this” and sounded resentful of the fact the officer was placed on administrative leave, which is what happens when they shoot white Americans also.

The reference to a “gentle man” would lead a reasonably intelligent person to question what could cause a gentle person to react in a violent manner. The victim of the shooting has been simply referred to as a young teenager. Would it matter if he was 6-foot-4 and weighed over 190 pounds? Is that not worthy of mention?

Although Mr. Anthony says that only an indictment will bring peace, I would prefer to see the truth and justice be the cause of peace in Ferguson.

Jerry Burgin


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