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December 3, 2009 at 3:58 PM

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Clemmons case, manhunt reinforces racial profiling

Posted by Letters Editor

Officers white, criminals black

The horrific shooting of four Lakewood police officers on Nov. 29 is an act that saddens us all, and that must be responded to the full extent of the law.

There is justice to be served, grief to be processed, anger to be vented. Unfortunately, this incident is being used by some to justify their racist ideology [“Manhunt creates unease for black men,” News, Dec. 1], rather than to question a criminal-justice system that obviously needs fixing.

The facts of the situation are polarizing: The officers are all white, the suspect African American. The unfortunate result is that a segment of the white community is using this incident to cast guilt upon a wide group of African Americans.

If you have spent any time monitoring comments on the Internet, reactions posted to newspaper stories, if you listen to talk radio, there is a deep streak of racism that flows at opportunities such as this. Many of these comments call for a vigilante approach to justice, casting any young African-American male as a prime suspect, especially if he is wearing a hoody.

No good can come from this — only more hate and more violence — only this time against innocent people who in no way are responsible for this horrible crime.

The community candlelight vigil held in Tacoma the night of the murders drew a diverse group of mourners and supporters who represented the racial and cultural diversity of our community. We are all coping with this tragedy together. We must respond to this tragedy by recognizing the racism that is reawakened in response, and by having the courage to name it and stand against it as a community united in peace and justice for all.

— Cheryl Cobbs, Seattle

African-American community will continue to build bridges

During the formative years of the Lakewood Police Department, the Lakewood African-American Police Advisory Committee (LAAPAC), worked hard to build bridges between the African-American community and the Lakewood Police Department.

Through the years we were successful. I have to hold on to the fact that we made a difference that is still around in the community and the department.

Today, my heart is heavy for the families, friends and co-workers of the four officers slain in cold blood. As the former chair of the LAAPAC, I add my heartfelt condolences to the many they have and will receive.

I have faith that the Lakewood Police Department will continue to be fair. I stand behind our police department 100 percent. Thank you for all you do to keep our community safe. We will continue to build bridges and we will work hard to heal the wounds left open by a hideous act of violence.

— Julius W. Brown Jr., Lakewood

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