To the editor:
(re: “Video shows cop punching suspect,” Oct. 12)
In Marble Hill on Oct. 6, a burly police officer recklessly and lawlessly beat a 16-year-old boy, Alfred Burns, for allegedly stealing a bicycle and resisting arrest.
This continued well after he had been subdued.
The question is not whether the police will arrest someone for apparently stealing a bicycle. Of course they will. It is not whether the police will defend themselves if apparently attacked by a suspect. Of course they will.
The question is whether the police can appoint themselves judge, jury and penal officials — whether they may take it upon themselves to administer brutal punishment to a teenager in order to work out their anger at him. Surely their job was to quickly arrest the youth and bring him in safely.
Terence O’Toole, 50th Precinct officer, justified the street beating of the adolescent, referring to his record (which is something for a judge to evaluate at trial). Officer O’Toole threatened that the police would eventually shoot him, which amounts to encouraging such an action.
Both Officer O’Toole and the brutal police officer should be penalized, preferably removed from the force.