LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Check the facts before drawing conclusions’

To the Editor:

This letter is written in response to an article that appeared in The Observer on July 12 by Kevin Canessa  Jr.

Having served 25 years in the New Jersey State Police, 15 years in narcotics, I know well the thoughts that go through a law-enforcement person’s mind when confronted by an armed individual.

Canessa, in his article, doesn’t want to hear things like, “put the gun down,” or “get on the ground,” or “put your hands on the car.” Does he have a secret method for disarming an armed person?

If the person obeys the above commands, usually all goes well. If the person refuses to put his gun down, then what? At this point, the officer’s very life is in jeopardy.   Perhaps Canessa  can enlighten  us on his method for disarming a subject.

Canessa reports that Alden Serine, of Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile, of Minnesota, were shot because they were black. How irresponsible is this reporting, not revealing that both men were armed.

Without a trial or hearing the police officers’ side of the story, Canessa has the officers convicted. Does he remember that in 1967, the untrue report that John Weere Smith, a cab driver, had been beaten to death by the Newark PD, sparked the Newark riots?

Canessa is right: With hundreds of thousands of police officers, there are probably a few bad apples. Every police department I know of has some type of internal affairs unit to weed them out.  I am sure that with hundreds of thousands of journalists, there are a few bad apples also. Who weeds them out?

Paul Bershefski


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