Letters: Wednesday, June 01, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Police Story Touches a Nerve

To the editor: I just read the story by Jeff Prince, on the traffic ticket issued by Officer Alison Herod to Fort Worth City Council member Donavan Wheatfall (“The Big Fuzzy Picture,” May 18, 2005). I believe that Officer Herod was in the right to issue this ticket. Police Chief Ralph Mendoza may have had the right to dismiss the ticket, but that doesn’t mean the city council member had the right to claim he was stopped because of profiling. And if Mr. Wheatfall is a member of the Fort Worth City Council, why was his car registered to a Hurst address? But I do believe the police chief should have stood behind his officer, whether she was right or wrong.
Jerry Schiffert
Kennedale

To the editor: Jeff Prince’s story was an intriguing behind-the-scene look at the workings of the Fort Worth Police Department amidst charges of “racial profiling” and “official oppression” in a poor black community. There was anger among the rank-and-file when Police Chief Ralph Mendoza decided to look into an African-American city councilman’s complaint of being racial profiled after being stopped by “one of Fort Worth’s finest.”
The councilman asked the question that no black man should ever ask a white police officer: “Why?” And in response to the newspaper’s story, I also ask: “Why?” Why would someone among the rank-and-file bring this story out into the public? Someone had this nebulous sensation that the black city councilman was trying to get favored treatment and get a white female officer in trouble. No such thing happened.
The councilman conducted himself nobly by only asking why. Most young blacks his age would have gone all the way off. And some already have.
Most people do not realize that there are suppressed hostile feelings in the black community. These kinds of stories get people enraged, not only on the black side of the fence, but also on the white. People do not realize that this is why Dallas is one of the most hostile and violent crime-ridden cities in the United States.
I teach my young people that the police are our friends, that we have as much right as anyone else to dial 911 without fear of being called a “snitch” or ostracized. But friendship is a two-way street, and common courtesies go a long way.
My heart goes out to any officer who puts his or her life on the line each day for our protection. My heart goes out to them when they are wrongly reprimanded. If such a story must be published, as a public’s right-to-know matter, then it should be equally known that there is an old wound call “racism” that still lives in the mind of the black community.
Eddie Griffin
Fort Worth



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