Pubdate: Sun, 11 Apr 1999
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Page: 3C (op-ed page), LTE section
Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle
Author: John Wells, Houston


Our country is suffering from an epidemic of police brutality as a
result of an "anything-goes" mentality caused by the war on drugs. We
have a continuous erosion of civil liberties, as was illustrated in
the Pedro Navarro Oregon case here in Houston, in which well-meaning
police officers, with the implicit approval of their superiors and the
district attorney's office, entered a residence without a warrant and
shot Oregon multiple times in the back.

Our state and federal prisons are full of young, nonviolent, low-level
drug offenders serving long sentences at enormous (and growing) cost
to taxpayers.

As a result of the war on drugs, the American people -- and minorities
in particular -- have increasing experience that many policemen are
dangerously close to being part of the problem instead of the solution.

When is this misguided war on drugs going to end?

The solution should be public education and treatment on demand for
addicts, rather than warrantless searches and continuous harassment of
minorities by the police.

John Wells, Houston

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