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Letters: Division and sorrow after police killings

A large crowd demonstrates at Foley Square in

A large crowd demonstrates at Foley Square in New York City Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner on July 17, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The recent high-profile tragedies involving police officers and the deaths of unarmed black men have caused me to go back and listen to the Bruce Springsteen song "American Skin," inspired by the Amadou Diallo killing in 1999 ["AG may probe cop fatalities," News, Dec. 9].

Although details are different, the emotion and moral impact that Springsteen created fit very comfortably with the reality of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.

Both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in conversation with his son, and Newsday's Matt Davies, in his editorial cartoon "Doubling up on training & procedural protocols" [Dec. 5], echo the very caution and perhaps words that Springsteen used in describing a mother's desperate entreaty to her young black son.

Is the divide between races and social classes so prevalent? Isn't understanding the hostility and sorrow that creates simply common sense for anyone who cares to notice?

Matthew Roti, Massapequa

We seem to be back to business as usual after the unfortunate grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case. Will anybody in high places do the right thing?

This might be the time to modify police actions. The police, city and state should create advertising campaigns that tell the public what to do when confronted by the police.

Volunteers should go to schools and teach kids about the law and how to act. Giving the right information would educate the public and might help stop people from doing the wrong things.

I was a creative director at one of the largest ad agencies in the world, and many times we were asked to create public service campaigns. They work.

The public, young and old, should be told what the police are trained to do and can do in the line of duty. Touching an officer, arguing or becoming aggressive is cause for arrest.

Nick Giroffi, Hicksville

The massive public reaction to the tragic deaths of three black men at the hands of police officers has led to a national call for use of body cameras to record and prevent mistreatment of suspects ["Poll: grand jury's Garner ruling wrong," News, Dec. 10].

There is ample precedent. Animal protection activists have used body cameras to document atrocities and safety violations by workers in the meat, dairy and egg industries. Their videos have led to corrective actions, as well as felony convictions, meat recalls and even a $500-million civil settlement.

How ironic then that agribusiness interests in seven states have enacted "gag" laws imposing penalties for using body cameras in their facilities.

Let's hope that other vested interests do not impose such restrictions in law enforcement.

Norman Dellman, Melville


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