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Letters to the Editor: Police kneeling with protestors isn’t reform; it’s an empty gesture

Escondido Police Chief Ed Varso kneels with protesters at City Hall.
Escondido Police Chief Ed Varso kneels at City Hall during a demonstration on June 3.
(Gary Warth / San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: Police chiefs across America are kneeling and expressing grief over George Floyd’s death. How noble of them. It must be difficult to engage in an act of solidarity that requires zero actual sacrifice.

People are demanding real reflection, not genuflection. Perhaps as a follow-up, these police chiefs can return some of their bloated salaries and pensions to fund fair housing. They can cancel contracts for militarized equipment that intimidates black and brown communities.

They can take personal responsibility by resigning when one of their officers brutalizes or kills another human being, providing true justice for communities who see one standard of accountability for themselves and another for the police.

Solidarity and justice demand sacrifice, not feel-good publicity measures. There will never be justice until the police overcome their arrogance and fear. We have a long way to go.

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Charles Kohorst, Glendora

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To the editor: The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board’s recommendation that police unions be barred from contributing to district attorney campaigns would set us on a dangerous path.

A police union represents the interests of its members. It is not a government entity. Would you also bar contributions for unions representing autoworkers, farmworkers, actors and others?

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We should not be banning any contributions. Instead, concentrate on full disclosure and let the voters decide.

Joseph Gunn, Burbank

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To the editor: Note to future mayors and police chiefs of Los Angeles: In times like these, the very first group to march against police brutality should be the LAPD.

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Take off your riot gear, put down your batons and rubber bullet guns, and march through every district with your fists in the air.

We know the Los Angeles Police Department has a tough job. We know there are bad actors. If you put your guard down and show you love us and want to listen, you will build trust.

And the people will respond in kind.

Daniel Shafer, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Let’s give police officers an economic incentive to control themselves. Have their salaries and pensions reduced when a government body has to pay for lawsuits based on their conduct.

This can be based on both individual conduct and that of the department as a whole. Maybe then, in situations where an officer is behaving illegally, the good cop will intervene against a bad cop’s action.

At least ethical officers would have an additional incentive and argument to use: “Stop, this will cost us money.”

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Ron Rouda, Venice


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