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Letter to Editor: Unchecked Use of Force by Police Must End

Ocean City resident Steven Fenichel argues for oversight of police K-9 patrols.

Dear Editor,

The paramilitary mentality of community police departments is taking on epidemic proportions. Tasers, dogs, drones and now the latest on the police wish list: http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/why-hottest-police-car-bomb-proof-military-suv-184502872.html

The military concept is “destroy the enemy.” The police concept: “serve and protect.” Which is winning?

A recent article told of a 20-year-old young man being severely beaten by Atlantic City cops. The not so “grand finale” was the arrival of K-9 Officer Sterling Wheaton and his partner. The victim was lying face down with his hands cuffed behind his back. (Officer Wheaton has at least three prior allegations of excessive force and civil rights violations.) Wheaton turned his dog loose. The Atlantic City chief after seeing the video at link below saw no problems. Maybe he should be on visual disability:    http://m.pressofatlanticcity.com/communities/northfield_linwood_somers-point/family-to-sue-atlantic-...

As a postscript, the victim required more than 200 sutures to close his wounds, and now has alleged permanent injuries, including nerve damage and muscle paralysis where the dog bit into his neck. The parallels to police conduct in Ocean City cannot be ignored.

A young man in Ocean City is bitten in the groin requiring surgery to reconnect his penis. The victim is charged with assaulting the K-9. The police in both Atlantic City and Ocean City conduct an internal investigation and the public is reassured that the police did nothing wrong. Chiefs Chad Callahan (Ocean City) and Ernest Jubilee (Atlantic City) embrace the conclusions and see no reason to suspend or remove the involved officers. 

Another Ocean City victim of alleged police abuse is Mr. Robert Petnick. This man was allegedly beaten up by five Ocean City officers with Officer Deuce doing the violence with his teeth on a victim who also had his hands cuffed behind his back. He too alleges permanent injuries, including nerve damage and muscle paralysis where the dog bit.

Mayors Jay Gillian (Ocean City) and Lorenzo Langford (Atlantic City) just want to get along by going along, so forget about any civilian oversight or even a concern with public safety.

Good officers are discredited by the bad, and find it easier to get along by going along. Instead of being role models and the gold standard of behavior in our communities, we are seeing a gangland mentality. Officers of conscience are considered snitches and traitors if they stand up for justice. This has to stop, or civil society will be shattered. I fear for my country, and I fear for myself.

Steven Fenichel, MD
Ocean City

Patches O'Houlihan October 02, 2013 at 12:06 PM
True, good officers mixed up in an increasingly out of control police state across the country. The transition of the police from serving the public to empowering the over reaching politicians is happening. A police state does not happen in one swift action. It is many increasingly aggressive tactics over a period of time that erodes liberty.
Eric Sauder October 02, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I just want to say, watch the video of what unfolded before you comment. What I saw was a group of armed thugs (police) beating up on some guy. That to me is assault, pure and simple.
Eric Sauder October 02, 2013 at 02:42 PM
And I can’t help but think had it not been caught on surveillance cameras all you would have heard is that there was an internal investigation that found no wrong doing.
Eric Sauder October 02, 2013 at 02:46 PM
I believe there are good and dedicated police officers out there that uphold the law and I feel sorry for how this reflects on them.
Patches O'Houlihan October 02, 2013 at 04:09 PM
The video of the ACPD is ridiculous. The kid is probably a loud mouth punk however the police actions are crazy. The beatings are crazy enough but to add in the dog. If I did not know better I would say this was East Germany during the 1960's. I'm sure he was reaching for something or trying to get up by cowering in the fetal position.
Eric Sauder October 02, 2013 at 04:17 PM
According to what I read the kid was intoxicated and was a threat to no one but himself. We agree on this one Patches.
Eric Sauder October 02, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Incidentally that is precisely what was stated about the Petnick and Moyer case here. That there was an internal police investigation that found no wrong doing. The one lawsuit was settled and the City is attempting to settle the other. So think about it. There was no wrong doing. There was a settlement.
Duffer October 03, 2013 at 07:04 AM
The liberal left has to use increasingly brutal police state tactics in order for their agenda to proceed. Its all about controlling the people and making the people fear the government. From NSA spying to increasing police brutality, its all about letting the average citizen know that they had better comply with the liberal socialist / communist agenda or else.
vic October 03, 2013 at 11:39 AM
based on the amount of physical damage done by a large police dog, I really can see no reason why the ocean city police dept. needs a dog. we are not a crime ridden community, overrun by gangs and drug lords. surely, the ocean city police dept if fully capable of upholding our high standards of law and order without needing a dog.
steve fenichel October 05, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Video link to the Goon Squad at work with the young man's parents explaining the thuggery. Where is the video on the Ocean City Police in their assault of Mr. Petnick and that alleged in the case of Mr. Moyer? http://studio.ndnmediaservices.com/pressofatlanticcity/K9-Arrest-of-David-Connor-Castellani-25212747

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