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Police and Prison Excess



All three items in last week's Blog Jammin' (July 11) had to do with the overreaches of law enforcement.

The first concerned the prison hunger strike, a desperate and painful act of resistance. They are up against a formidable empire. Prisons employ over a million people. Prison shares are traded on the stock exchange. They support whole cities.

If we were to return to pre-1970s prisoner/population ratios we'd have to release four out of five inmates. The war on drugs created a permanent American undercaste. Prolonged confinement in the Secure Housing Unit has been court-determined to be torture. The strikers' solidarity is inspirational.

The picture of the "loss prevention" agent hired by the Arcata Co-op(!) with his knee on the neck of the woman with flowing red hair speaks for itself. There is pitifully spilled food all over the sidewalk, her unnaturally forced-up arms are grasped by an intimidatingly muscular man. "Excessive force" is an understatement. 

Which leads to the choice of one of Cheri Lyn Moore's killers for the next Eureka Police chief. This selection is a slap in the face to the thousands of Eurekans who still grieve over that tragedy. Our office serves people who are severely traumatized by Cheri's violent and unnecessary death, as are others by the police deaths of 16-year-old Chris Burgess and Martin Cotton. Even if Michael Johnson turned into a model police chief in Anderson, he must not come back here. 

Humboldt County does not need any more SWAT team mentality policing. The strategy of trying to force poor people to leave the area by making life intolerable has to be discarded. These hard times will be a lot more bearable if we can remember that any people in difficulty could, at a different time, be ourselves.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia

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