Letters to the Editor: Don’t fault Atlanta police for trying to enforce drunk driving laws

Rayshard Brooks
This screen grab taken from body camera video provided by the Atlanta Police Department shows Rayshard Brooks speaking with Officer Garrett Rolfe in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant on June 12.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: To suggest that the Atlanta police officers should have let Rayshard Brooks sleep it off or called his family to drive him home after he failed a sobriety test in a parking lot is completely ridiculous. You are overlooking the fact that he allegedly drove drunk in the first place, and he could have killed people. (“Atlanta police killed a Black man for being drunk at Wendy’s,” editorial, June 16)

There are about 10,000 people killed by drunk drivers in the United States each year. Race should not play a role in determining the consequences of these actions.

The police did the right thing by trying to arrest him, and the footage shows that they were being completely professional and calm up to that point. Fear of getting arrested is needed to prevent people from drinking too much before driving.


What happened after Brooks resisted arrest led to an sad outcome, but it easily could have been avoided if Brooks had complied with the officers.

Mark Korman, Eagle Rock


To the editor: If Brooks had been white, driving a BMW and wearing a $5,000 suit, he would be alive today.

The police would have been concerned about his health and asked him if he was OK. Did he have a heart condition? Was he diabetic? They would have treated him with respect and spoken to him nicely.

After doing the breathalyzer test they would have decided he was not going to be arrested, but could call someone to come get him and drive him home. They would have cited him and warned him that he would be arrested if he ever got caught drinking and driving again.

But instead he’s dead. This is the essence of racism.

Sylvia Hampton, San Diego



To the editor: The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board wrote, “Authorities say he resisted, took an officer’s Taser and began to run, and one of the officers shot him in the back.” (The emphasis is mine.)

Newsflash: We saw him resisting on video, and we saw him running with the Taser. You also omit the fact that Brooks fired the Taser at the officers chasing him.

Joseph Wambaugh, San Diego


To the editor: Your editorial omits one of Brooks’ responses when he was questioned by the officers. He said that he could lock his car and walk to his sister’s house. Evidently, that was an unacceptable alternative to placing him under arrest.

While public reaction has been to defund the police, as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms pointed out, it is a slogan, and slogans don’t work. What is needed is changing the culture of the police, demilitarizing their weaponry, and mandating better and longer training in order to protect human life and serve the community, including people of color.

Until there are significant changes in law enforcement and the corrections system, Black lives will be at risk, and communities of color will be underserved. This is not justice for all.

Lenore Navarro Dowling, Los Angeles