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Smoke, Mirrors and Dogs



The Journal's coverage of the Dec. 6th EPD's volley of bullets in downtown Eureka gives cause for concern (Dec. 15). Presented as three articles, the coverage is one story.

The article titled "Escalation" would be better named "Smoke." Blaming "escalating violence on everything from drug culture to a general disregard for human life," it fails to mention that the poverty rate in Humboldt County is 20.9 percent, and that the rate of poverty is a good indicator of the rate of high school dropouts and also the rate of violence. It also promotes the idea that being a police officer is a very dangerous job, when it isn't even in the top 10 list of most dangerous jobs [according to www.census.gov]. The most dangerous job — logging — is almost gone from Humboldt County, which is one reason there is so much poverty here.

The second article titled "Critical Response" should be named "Mirrors." Laying out "the 17 pages that guide how local cops investigate their own," it provides us with the rationale for letting the law authorities take charge of investigations into police behavior. However without citizen's oversight, even when police are judged to have acted brutally in a court of law, e.g., the 2011 Martin Cotton wrongful death verdict of $4.5 million against EPD and the City of Eureka, police officers involved received no punishment and continued to work in the community.

The third article titled "44" should be "The Tail Wagging the Dog." After the Journal told us that it was Officer Harpham who shot the suspect, in the Times-Standard of Dec. 23 we are told that it was one of Officer Linfoot's 16 or 17 shots which hit him. Was this story the result of investigative journalism or just relying on EPD reports?

Robin Donald, Fortun

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