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Injustice in death of state trooper

Jesse Cohen of West Islip "sent and received

Jesse Cohen of West Islip "sent and received dozens of text messages" in the 20 minutes leading up to his vehicle striking Trooper Joseph Gallagher in Commack in 2017, prosecutors said. Credit: Westchester DA/News12

Where is the justice in Jesse Cohen serving only 30 days in jail for what he did to State Trooper Joseph Gallagher’s brain (traumatic injury) and life (now extinguished) ["Trooper hit by distracted driver in ’17 has died," News, March 28]? Gallagher spent three years unable to "walk, talk or eat," so it’s as if Cohen served only 10 days in jail for each of these three vital functions that he took from Gallagher.

Cohen’s car hit Gallagher because Cohen, driving at high speed, sent and received "dozens of text messages" during the 20 minutes before he hit Gallagher; so it’s as if he served only 1 and 1⁄2 days for each minute of reckless driving, or one day for each illegal text message. And since Gallagher likely would have lived 30-plus more years, it’s as if Cohen served only one day for each year he "stole" from Gallagher.

Did this case even have a real "prosecutor"? Why did the judge agree to this one-sided plea bargain? Has he ever justified this "deal with the devil"? What’s to stop the 24-year-old Cohen from continuing to recklessly endanger other Long Island highway drivers’ lives for the next 60 years? Has concern been shown for Gallagher’s widow, children and parents?

Richard Siegelman,


I believe Sunday’s Newsday shows bias. The cover stories state why Long Islanders should not always trust police officers’ reports ["Civilian videos contradicted police accounts," News, March 28]. Yet, back on page 23, you had an article about a state trooper, Joseph Gallagher, who in the line of duty had helped a motorist in Commack in 2017.

He had been struck down by a distracted driver, and Gallagher died of the injuries on Friday. I know several police officers. They go to work each week with the intent of helping people, knowing they might not come home that evening.

Why doesn’t Newsday write about the life of a police officer and what they actually do every day?

Jennifer Romeo,

East Norwich

Beware bystanders’ police recordings

Video from a surveillance camera, in my view, is stronger evidence than videos taken with a bystander’s cellphone ["Civilian videos contradicted police accounts," News, March 28]. I’m not disputing what was recorded, but rather when the recording began.

For example, can we be certain the video of the man being calmly handcuffed is showing the officers’ first attempt to do so? The reason for his charge might have already occurred. I suggest we just be more wary when the human element enters into the equation of recordings before making a judgment.

Mark Piotrowski,

Wading River

High oil prices reflect who’s in the White House

I believe the article on rising gas prices was misleading ["Gas prices up as demand rises and production drops," News, March 19]. Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis in the Wall, New Jersey, office of the Oil Price Information Service, stated higher fuel prices have nothing to do with who’s in the White House. As candidates, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both said they were targeting the fossil fuel industry.

Biden, by executive order, shut down the Keystone XL pipeline project and stopped new drilling on public land. Some Biden administration members are opposed to fracking, indicating to the U.S. oil industry that there is a relatively "unfriendly" team in the White House. U.S. energy exports were heading toward energy independence. Who does it serve to fall back to being dependent on Mideast foreign oil producers? Higher energy costs affect everything we do, from buying a pizza to heating our homes.

This impacts the marginal-income people the most and will stunt the economic recovery as it reduces discretionary income. I believe the worst is yet to come.

Victor C. Guttilla,


Fast and furious on Long Island’s roadways

I read with great dismay "Taking the wheel," about Long Island parents teaching their children to drive [exploreLI, Feb. 3]. Some things are best left to the professionals. I have been driving on Long Island with these parents for the past 20 years.

I’ve "learned" from them: They always have the right-of-way; the worst driving sin is to arrive at a four-way stop sign in second place; roll through all right turns at red lights; the fastest places to drive are in the right lane of the Southern State Parkway when another driver is trying to enter the parkway; parking lots have no speed limits; and all cars have the right-of-way over pedestrians.

Steve Johnson,


Cyclists’ desires are a two-way street

The letter writers who endorsed a three-foot separation between cars and cyclists should tell cyclists to ride only on roads with enough of a shoulder to accommodate such an action ["Bellone must sign 3-foot bicycle bill," March 25].

They also should tell them not to ride two or three abreast, putting them on part of the main roadway. Safety, not the arrogance of "I can be here too," belongs on both sides.

Richard M. Frauenglass,