Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2000
Date: 08/10/2000
Source: Newsday (NY)
Author: Robert Sharp

Regarding the article "Dorismond's Family Numbed by Decision" [July
28]: What message does the acquittal of the drug detective who killed
an unarmed New Yorker send? That it's okay for police to gun down
citizens with impunity so long as pot is somehow involved?

Patrick Dorismond did not even have any drugs on him when he was shot
in a botched marijuana sting.

But he was black, and blacks are apparently expendable in the eyes of
drug warriors.

Although only 11 percent of the nation's drug users are black, blacks
account for 37 percent of those arrested for drug violations, more
than 42 percent of those in federal prisons for drug violations and
almost 60 percent of those in state prisons for drug felonies.

I think it's safe to say that support for the failed drug war would
end overnight if whites were incarcerated at these rates.

The land of the free now has the highest incarceration rate in the

Our tax dollars are financing for-profit prison systems that serve to
transmit violent habits and values, rather than reduce them.
Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights are increasingly irrelevant
due to drug-war exemptions. Despite this insane war on the American
people, the flow of drugs continues unabated.

I pray there will come a time when politicians choose pragmatism over
preaching, for only then will policymakers begin to treat drug use as
the public health problem it is. Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.