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July 12, 2013

Letter: Enforcement tactics had no place at Fiesta

To the editor:

I wish to express some of my concerns about the tactics used by law enforcement officers at the close of the Saturday night St. Peter’s Fiesta celebration.

The maneuvers employed by Essex County Sheriff Department’s correctional officers that night on Rogers Street have, justly, drawn much public disapproval.

With headquarters at the Middleton jail, it seems Gloucester’s police chief expected there was a need to have the capability of the Sheriff Department’s personnel present; and intended that those arrested during the event would be transported directly to the Middleton jail.

Correctional officers utilize various, forceful maneuvers and tactics to quell disturbances.

One commonly in use to incapacitate inmates is a take-down-from-behind maneuver. That can often result with the subject’s skull forcefully impacting the floor.

It certainly is a brutal occurrence. I understand it is illegal to treat war prisoners in such fashion.

Such tactics have no place in a civilized society; neither in public, nor hidden by prison walls.

With the likelihood of serious and permanent injuries resulting from the infliction such head trauma — and the similarities it has to assault and battery with intent to cause serious bodily harm, I believe it should be outlawed and criminalized similarly.

The mere increased presence of police apparatus to stage such a challenge seems to have served to simply heighten tensions.

A Fiesta need not have the ambience of a quasi-state-of-emergency.

Any review of the Sheriff’s Department policies should conclude such excessive force and brutal tactics are not acceptable strategies for agents of the government to deploy upon its people – most especially when policing what is intended to be a peaceful gathering.

And I hope Chief Campanello sees fit, as do I, to implore Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Gikas to rightly cease the use of such brutish practices upon the inmates at the Middleton jail as well.

MARK FULLER

Beverly

(formerly of Gloucester)

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