What has happened to the Selma police?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To the Editor:

This letter is being written with much anger, pain and disappointment with the Selma Police Department. We read the article that was printed on March 20, 2007, but feel more clarification is needed on the incident that happened on March 16, 2007. Our family member was involved in a situation with an officer from the Selma Police Department.

The situation ended up with back up being dispatched. We will assume that is proper procedure. Our nephew came into the yard and got out of the car. What happened after that is what is so disturbing. Our nephew’s father, who is employed with the Federal Bureau, presented his badge and asked the officers to let him talk with his son.

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His father has 22 years of law enforcement and was trying to get the situation calmed down.

While handcuffed, the officers threw our nephew from one car to the other, beat him with the police batons and maced him for no reason. Our nephew and father have severe asthma and take medication daily.

He didn’t resist arrest as the officers have stated or conducted himself in a manner that was against the law.

One officer pulled his weapon on him for no probable cause. Our nephew wasn’t a threat to him and wasn’t armed with any lethal weapons. Officer, we don’t know where you received your training, but I do assure you that it is strongly needed if you are to remain with the Selma Police Department.

Our father asked the officers, “Please don’t, you’ll beat him like that, he is ill.”

The officers became more violent. Five officers jumped our father and beat him. A different officer walked by and kicked him while five officers had a 140-pound man on the ground, handcuffed. Our mother, who is on oxygen, tried to get the officers to stop by informing them that our father has asthma. One of the officers replied, “Get back before I mace you with that oxygen,” and touched her with the police baton.

Our question again is where did these officers receive their training and what leadership are they working under?

The big question is when will incidents like this end?

Citizens should be afraid for other young males whom live here in

Selma who may be victimized for no just cause.

Every black male isn’t a criminal and doesn’t have criminal intents.

We celebrated Bloody Sunday that commemorated some of the same events that has happened to our family on March 16, 2007. Our father is a hard-working, productive citizen, and a man that is respected by both races.

Our father and nephew have never been arrested or had a confrontation with the law. According to 6.1 Violation of 42 USC 1983, use of excessive force has to meet every aspect of the law. If a police officer is choleric, he or she needs to come out of the blue uniforms, because you are not psychologically trained.We don’t have a definitive statement why such action was taken. An officer didn’t give our father an order or command.

It was a traumatic scene for the other young children who were present to witness. We say to Mayor James Perkins and Chief Jimmy Martin, we are again stating we want the officers involved off-duty pending the investigation of this said matter.

Our family will continue to pray and is asking all citizens for your prayers.

Hollman and Gordon Family