Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 Date: 08/10/2000 Source: Newsday (NY) Author: Robert Sharp Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n1073/a09.html 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 world. 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.