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Letters: Black, blue and racial divisions

Two NYPD officers responding to a robbery in

Two NYPD officers responding to a robbery in progress at a commercial business in the Bronx were shot and wounded, the NYPD said. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Newsday's editorial board used poor judgment in publishing "Work slowdown would mar NYPD success" [Editorial, Jan. 6].

On the same day was a news story on why enforcement had fallen off. Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, cited "shifting of manpower to deal with protests, the funerals and the doubling up of patrol cars so that officers can respond to 911 calls in case they are being set up for assassination" [" 'Slowdown' questions," Jan. 6].

The police had just buried their dead. Newsday should have shown a little more respect and waited a few days.

Steve Reilly, Fort Salonga

Newsday's editorial "Black, blue and a dangerous gap" [Jan. 5] stated a few things about New York City's police department, the mayor and some minority groups.

The editorial stated, "We all want safety and respect," and noted that the NYPD's 22,000-member patrol force is 53 percent black, Latino and Asian. You called for an honest solution.

Maybe we should pair black officers in patrol cars and foot patrols. Assign black officers and only black officers to black neighborhoods.

This would end the Rev. Al Sharpton's problem with "racist" white cops and put crucial split-second decisions in the hands of black officers, who would not be questioned for doing their jobs. Police officers have a tough job that becomes an impossible job when the mayor undermines their decisions.

George A. Szarmach, Dix Hills

Whenever the Rev. Al Sharpton stands behind a microphone or picks up a bullhorn, my first emotion is pride that I live in a nation that values free speech so much.

But my second emotion is fear. To the thoughtful, reasonable and compassionate among us -- the vast majority -- Sharpton's hyperbole is benign. My fear is that his words inevitably reach the ears of people like Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot and killed two New York City police officers. Sharpton's words, to such people, serve as a call to violence and a license to destroy.

We have serious race relation problems in our country. Denying Sharpton his First Amendment rights is not the solution; looking to him for leadership is not the solution. The solution will come after we as individuals are willing to look each other in the eye, shake hands and say, enough. We can trust and respect each other, one encounter at a time, until it becomes routine. On that day, Sharpton will be irrelevant.

Edward Weinert, Melville