Ask Yourself, What Are Police For? | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Ask Yourself, What Are Police For?

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Anthony Graffeo's letter [May 4, responding to the April 20 story "Killed on Camera"] seems to miss the point of the story.

Before the shot was fired, both Weems and the two black men acted unwisely. After the shot was fired, Weems lied about what had occurred. OPS found out about the lies, and Cline let Weems off with a pat on the wrist and even later promoted him to detective. That promotion attacked the basic position of the police within the judicial process. Detectives are supposed to find out the facts and report them in court. If the superintendent of police thinks lying on a police report doesn't disqualify an officer from being a detective, then why should judges or juries ever believe police testimony? If Weems had behaved properly, there would have been no shooting; if Cline had behaved properly, there would have been no story.

Graffeo's implication that the action of the two young men somehow justifies Weems's actions is equally dubious. They behaved unwisely--never argue with a man waving a gun, especially never argue with a cop waving a gun--but we don't need police when civilians are behaving wisely. Are we to judge doctors on whether they make healthy people sick? Instead, we judge them on whether they improve the health of sick people. Similarly, police are supposed to be able to deal with much worse situations than people arguing with them--and deal with them without shooting.

Frank Palmer

Edgewater

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