.Letters of the Week: Our Readers Chime in on Last Week’s Issue

“What Does the Apocalypse Smell Like?” Feature, 11/7

Only the Artist

The theme of individual death as well as nuclear annihilation is a powerful subject matter for the artist. But perhaps it is only the artist who can give human answers to these questions as war draws nearer.

Peter McLoughlin

“Hit and Lie,” News, 11/7

Both Were at Fault

Wait. The OPD vehicle was traveling with lights and sirens. Elliott Van Fleet was riding his motorcycle … and obeying all laws.

Uh. No. Emergency vehicle with lights and sirens: Pull to the right and stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed. See California Vehicle Code 21055.

If a police car or other emergency vehicle flashes a light and sounds its siren, surrounding traffic must respond appropriately or run the risk of receiving a fine. The law dictates that motorists must immediately pull over to the right-hand edge of a curb or highway and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Pedestrians are required to go to the nearest curb or place of safety and stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed.

What game are you playing Darwin BondGraham/Express? I’m certain a university graduate knows this or have you never taken drivers training/education? Drivers education teaches drivers that if they hear the siren to be looking out for the emergency vehicle. Clearly in the video, Van Fleet never slowed or even looked around.

Yeah, getting hit is/was no fun. Nor is playing dodge-em cars in traffic with bikers who think they can ignore traffic regulations or play chicken with emergency vehicles with lights and sirens.

That said, the [OPD] policy violation and incorrect report is a problem that needs to be addressed. But this biker wasn’t an innocent bystander either.

Bruce Ferrell

The Cop Was at Fault

The cop lied. Period. End of sentence!

Why is America so brainwashed when it comes to law enforcement and truth. Here is the truth, video cameras have shown over and over and over that cops behave inappropriately and illegally every single day. They profile and verbally abuse innocent people, plant evidence, and create scenarios that, in retrospect, did not happen. They shoot unarmed people, especially if they are Black or Brown. Instead of diffusing a potential situation upon arrival, they, as the law enforcement professionals, escalate the encounter.

What the public gets after a citizen is dead is the same old tired explanation and lies on the news: The officer was in fear of his life and discharged his weapon in fear. It was always the dead person’s fault, and he is not here to give the other side of the event. The same rehearsed line is given when the victim is unarmed on the ground or walking or driving away.

The truth is that many cops are in fear for their lives as soon as they leave the yard, and everything a citizen of a certain color evokes the maximum force response. We have all seen the tapes. A cop in Texas physically assaults a young Black girl in a swimsuit, throws her to the ground, and pulls his gun. Even his fellow officers looked at him like, ‘What is your problem, man?’

Black unarmed drivers are given instructions by a cop, and when in the process of compliance, are shot. Young unarmed Black men are shot walking or running away from a cop who then claims that he was in fear of his life.

Sorry Bruce Ferrell, it is not an incorrect report, it is a lie. Many cops have military backgrounds, and think they are still in Iraq or Afghanistan. I know that all cops are not bad and that they all have an extremely difficult job to do. But at least 10 percent of the cops on the street are not mentally or emotionally balanced enough to do the job. We have seen bad cops move from job to job, running away from their poor records, and it seems that history is not a determinant of future behaviors for some.

It is urgent that leaders in law enforcement do a better job training and psychologically assessing job candidates to exclude those dangerous to the community. It has to be a priority!

Gary Patton

The City Settled

The city has more facts than anyone in this case, and the city paid out $12 million. The city knows where a jury with all facts would go with this: much more than $12 million.

Allen Paxton


Our Oct. 17 election story, “Richmond at a Crossroads,” misstated the planned number of housing units at Point Molate. It’s 670, not 460.


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