To the editor: With all due respect to op-ed article writer Jamil Smith, activist and Cal State L.A. professor Melina Abdullah and Black Lives Matter, any assessment of retiring Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck's rocky tenure must be placed in historical perspective. ("Charlie Beck's replacement should let cops be cop," Opinion, Feb. 1)
In a long and embarrassing line of overtly bigoted chiefs from James "Two Guns" Davis and William H. Parker to Darryl Gates — a trend only reversed after the 1992 uprising following Rodney's King's beating — the vastly more sensitive, community-minded Beck deserves far more credit than either Smith or Abdullah seems prepared to give.
Vincent Brook, Los Angeles
To the editor: I agree with Smith that we should use the minimalist approach and just let cops be cops, and therefore redirect some of the funding for the LAPD toward social services instead. It's so disheartening to hear about police officers dragging people off of trains and shooting unarmed homeless people.
Let's spend some of the department's money on hiring minority officers from high-risk communities as unarmed, plainclothes patrollers. Maybe this is how we can slowly move toward disarming and becoming a gun-free society.
I know, this might sound like a crazy idea. So call me crazy.
Tony Wood, Claremont