Letters to the Editor: To Europeans, policing in America is peculiarly brutal. Is it because of officer unions?

Buffalo police
A Buffalo, N.Y., police officer appears to shove a man who walked up to police last week.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As an immigrant from Europe, I have always been amazed at the semi-militaristic attitude of police in the United States. (“Two Buffalo police officers charged with assault after video shows them shoving man,” June 6)

The most similar example I have seen in Europe was the Guardia Civil in fascist Spain under the dictator Francisco Franco. It resembled an imperial guard whose members were completely confident in their invincibility.

The average white, U.S.-born citizen seems to have been numbed over the years by the supposed necessity for this overt show of force to keep the “peace.” Officers even call their unions “police protective leagues,” which is odd in a country in which it is the people who need protection from the police. These unions should be apolitical, but they are allowed to buy candidates who will acquiesce to their domination.


Hopefully the public has woken up to this farce, the quasi-military outfit that dares the ordinary citizen to challenge its power.

Frances Vizier, West Hollywood


To the editor: Police are necessary, but they need to have their role in society clearly defined. We should stop using the police to deal with social problems.

Police who use excessive force cost cities and counties dearly because of lawsuit settlements and judgments. These are funds that could go toward continuing education for police and the social workers and psychologists assigned to work with them.

Police unions need to realize that protecting officers who use excessive force does a disservice to everyone in law enforcement. As a retired teacher, I hated it when my union protected teachers who were not fit for the classroom.

When union leaders approve of or look the other way from terrible conduct, they diminish everyone else in their profession. Unions need to stand for the honor of their workers and those who follow the rules, not members who bring shame to them.


Linda Shabsin, Diamond Bar


To the editor: John Evans, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Assn. president, was quoted as saying that two of the union’s members were “simply executing orders” when they pushed a senior citizen protester to the pavement, resulting in a serious head injury.

Haven’t we heard this justification before, perhaps in 1940s Germany?

Alan Miller, Santiago, Chile


To the editor: We are constantly told by 2nd Amendment fetishists that the purpose of unrestricted firearm ownership is to protect us from government tyranny. Yet now, when government agents are actually being tyrannical, they are nowhere to be seen.

I am wondering why that is.

Craig Zerouni, Los Angeles