Readers React

What Eric Garner and Michael Brown needed to do to say alive

To the editor: I do feel horrible that both Michael Brown and Eric Garner got killed, but I do not think they died because they were black men. I believe that even if they were white, the police action would have been the same. ("Police expectations damage black men's realities," Dec. 5)

Brown was caught on camera robbing a convenience store and roughing up a clerk before his death. Garner was selling "illegal" cigarettes. (Why are they illegal is a whole other ridiculous story.)

What columnist Sandy Banks does not address is that both men were arguing with the police. If Brown had just gotten out of the street when the cop told him to get up on the sidewalk, he would probably still be alive. And if Garner had just complied when the police wanted to arrest him, he also would not have died.

Where is the call for personal accountability for either man? Just listen when the police tell you to do something; you can file a complaint later if they have done something wrong.

Dafni Black, Culver City

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To the editor: Banks has done it again with her highly relevant, informative, and brave article.

For readers who may be interested in assessing their own level of hidden biases — not only about race but also gender and age — they can do so easily if they have access to a computer. Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, created Project Implicit using implicit association tests developed by research teams at Harvard and elsewhere.

As for the necessary structural remedies that Banks notes, such as better training of police, I would add that a key element must be the recognition that law enforcement can no longer be permitted to police itself. Meaningful civilian oversight is essential as well.

Gene Rothman, Culver City

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