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Letters to the Editor: A homeless man was killed by police. We’re all responsible for this death

A man bows over a makeshift memorial.
Phil Pascal of Las Vegas prays at a memorial for his college classmate Kurt Andras Reinhold, who was killed in San Clemente.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: There is more to the death of Kurt Andras Reinhold in San Clemente on Sept. 23 than a story of a Black man senselessly killed by police.

In fact, police should not have it as their responsibility to handle mentally ill people who are acting dangerously. As a society, we don’t help these people, but rather continually impede their progress toward a healthy life.

We have a system that gives people the “right” to be mentally ill and live on the streets. They have the right to refuse treatment unless they are a danger to themselves or others. This standard is stringent and does not include hallucinating or showing other signs of mental illness in public.

When these people harm others, it becomes a criminal matter. There is no winning, because we do not want to interfere with these people’s personal liberty, and they are free to be mentally ill.

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Yet, we forget that people with severe mental illness may not be making rational decisions. After all, no child says, “When I grown up, I want to be mentally ill.”

Christine Beirne, Ojai

..

To the editor: I was very upset to read that once again, a police officer is claiming that the man he killed had taken his gun. This should never be an excuse, since it is unprovable.

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All officers use some variety of a security holster. One cannot simply grab and draw an officer’s gun. One or more positive actions are needed to release the gun.

It is difficult to believe that a man lying on the ground with two or more officers on him would be able to reach up and know how to release an officer’s holstered weapon and then use it.

Alex Magdaleno, Camarillo


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