To the Editor:

The “You’re not helping” section in Editor Terry Smith’s opinion piece on the uptown arrest (The NEWS, Oct. 3) is in fact not helping. Your idea that excessive force is going to become worse because police have less ability to restrain or control themselves when presented with community discontent at their own actions immediately puts the responsibility to de-escalate on bystanders and not the officers who overstepped or lost control of themselves.

The trained professionals who wield the authority to use violence must be held responsible no matter the gathering crowds. If they believe that a crowd may form in a threatening manner or a riot may be possible, it is their responsibility to avoid the excessive force that would trigger this response from community members nearby. They are responsible if it escalates from there. They are grown adults who should be aware of their actions, the consequences or responses, and the obvious national context for police doing this to a young black man.

Given the officer involved is already under a lawsuit for excessive force, this should have been all the more obvious to him.

Aaron Reinhard

North Congress Street

Athens

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