SF Weekly Letters

Verbal Warning
Cameron's conflict of interest: I read Matt Smith's "Legal Weapon" [Feature, 2/10] with great interest. When I briefly studied criminal justice at the University of Nevada a few years ago, we were taught about a concept called the use of force continuum, a kind of sliding scale officers should use when deciding how much force is justified. It started with verbal warnings and commands, progressing up to physical restraint, Tasering, use of a baton and/or Mace, and finally use of a firearm.

Aside from the obvious conflict of interest of Don Cameron being retained by the city as a witness and defense consultant, he seems unwilling to make the distinction between justified and unjustified use of force in some of the cases cited in the article. Just because a cop took down a suspect the "correct" way — using a gentler aikido-style takedown instead of punching or kicking someone to the ground — does not necessarily mean that his use of that level of force was called for in the first place. No doubt Cameron, when called as a witness by the defense of Johannes Mehserle, will testify that Mehserle was going for his Taser instead of his gun when he shot Oscar Grant in the back. A savvy prosecutor cross-examining Cameron would be wise to ask him why it would be necessary to Taser an unarmed suspect who was already being restrained on the ground by several officers.

This is why, to so many who have seen tapes of the shooting, it resembles a cold execution and not an attempt to bring a struggling Grant under control.

Chris Bussey

Web comment

Not charmed: I must commend Matt Smith on his article about Don Cameron. I found it the most shocking article I have read in a local paper for years. That Cameron's essentially paid-for testimony has helped sadists like police Officer Jesse Serna escape justice is more than troubling.

The only fault I find in the article is the somewhat overly even-handedness of Smith's reporting, with him seeming charmed by Cameron's twinkly-eyed persona. Smith could have really railed against the corruption of our legal system and challenged more strongly Cameron's (very profitable) place in it.

T. Edwards

San Francisco

Snitch Blog Comment of the Week
In response to a blog post describing the contents of the Feb. 10 print issue: Peter Jamison talks highly of pot smokers and then turns around and talks very negatively of "Teabaggers." He doesn't even know the two are typically related. What a moron.

"Teabaggers" is an insulting term designed to mock people who love freedom and dislike the government getting overly involved in our lives.

Marijuana laws are disliked by a large segment of the Tea Party crowd. The majority of the people I've spoken with in the Tea Party movement are socially liberal. They feel the government shouldn't get involved with our private lives (legislating morality). They dislike many Republicans and Democrats alike. They stand for freedom. And you mock them, Jamison.

Well, I'll just have to mock Jamison. He is a freaking joke. Zero comments on his blog — who gives a crap what he has to say? I just felt someone needed to tell him how stupid he is to address the Tea Party crowd with his standard elitist liberal attitude. No wonder he hates them. They dislike his kind. The kind who think they can go around telling others how to live their lives but are the first to whine when a religious person tells them the same. Jamison is a hypocrite.

Robert Livingston

Correction
In "Locked Out" [Lauren Smiley, Sucka Free City, 2/17], we incorrectly stated that Mexican nationals are required to prove they are in the country legally before they can visit loved ones in prison. SF Weekly regrets the error.

 
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