<b>Manslaughter at issue</b>
EDITOR: Chris Smith's column suggesting that Andy Lopez's death was either murder or a tragic accident was appalling misleading ("Death of Andy Lopez likely a mistake, not a murder," Sunday). Except for a few on the fringe, most people understand that the issue here is really whether Lopez's death was manslaughter or an accident.
The deputy sheriff in question clearly never intended to kill a child. The issue is whether he acted reasonably under the circumstances — an open question.
Contrary to Russ Davidson's letter ("Without gear," Sunday), the issue of militarization of the police is not really about weapons and vehicles but about mentality and attitude. The police have adopted a military mentality of us (i.e., the police) versus the enemy (i.e., the public), instead of viewing the proper police role as public servants.
The issue here is whether the deputy who shot Andy Lopez had this mentality and acted on it instead of a rational evaluation of the facts as seen by a reasonable police officer. The deputy's past suggests a military attitude, but let us not rush to judgment.
However, we all need to speak up against this militarization-of-police attitude. It is a great danger.
EDITOR: Beginning back in July, Supervisor Efren Carrillo's behavior on the night of his arrest was attributed to his serious drinking problem. The implication is that he was intoxicated that night.