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There's little accountability for trigger-happy police, and a Times investigation won't change that

There's little accountability for trigger-happy police, and a Times investigation won't change that
In 2009, L.A. County Sheriff's deputies fired 61 rounds into Alfredo Montalvo's car, which officers said backed into a police car repetedly and violently. (Los Angeles Sheriff's Department)

To the editor: Thanks for the article reporting that there have been more than 2,000 police shootings in Southern California since 2004, only one of which resulted in criminal prosecution (the officer was acquitted). ("Police in six Southern California counties have shot more than 2,000 suspects since 2004. Only one officer was prosecuted -- he was acquitted," Feb. 19)

Yes, it's amazing and perhaps disturbing how many citizens are killed by police officers. However, it's obvious that most of us will back up police actions of any kind, because like all those cops out there, we are afraid for our safety.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck assures us that no officer ever kills anyone without reason. And former L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley is equally objective when he says, "Like it or not, the law provides huge cover for police in these situations."

So all you law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear. This article will, as always, have absolutely no effect on the behavior of law enforcement.



Bob Loza, Burbank

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To the editor: Is the proliferation of police shootings motivated just by trigger-happy officers or by the brazen and violent criminals who have no fear or respect for authority? We, as bystanders, can easily point fingers at officers without actually understanding the complexity of the situation.

When a police officer investigates a crime, especially a violent crime, his edginess is akin to a hunter stalking a lion; he's ready to pull the trigger as soon as he senses a sudden movement as a threat to his life.

Police officers are engaged every day in the milieu of a criminal element, which they can no longer contain. Their job is to protect and serve us, but as we persistently castigate officers for every police shooting, that protection will slowly diminish as crime worsens.

Giuseppe Mirelli, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am a retired New York Police Department lieutenant. I made or assisted in more than 3,000 criminal arrests in my career. That number includes a few bad police and corrections officers. Luckily I was never shot at, and I never had to fire my revolver on the street.

I am shocked by this article. Is it suggesting that grand juries should be indicting more police officers? Do the 2,000 incidents include the police shooting in December of two fleeing terrorists in San Bernardino?



Perhaps future articles should also include support for the tough job our police are doing to keep us safe. A preferred headline might have read, "Grand juries and prosecutors find 99.95% of police shootings in six Southern California counties since 2004 justifiable."

Andy DiMarco, Manhattan Beach

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