Beyoncé performs during Super Bowl 50's halftime show on Feb. 7, 2016. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
Beyoncé performs during Super Bowl 50’s halftime show on Feb. 7, 2016. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Last updated 7:45 p.m. ET, Feb. 11, 2016
Beyoncé stole the spotlight from Coldplay during the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 7. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani said her performance, which alluded to the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, was an attack on police officers. We asked our followers on Twitter what they thought about Giuliani’s criticism. Read their replies below, and comments from Facebook, then share your views.

Comments from Facebook are edited for clarity and space:
Without any doubt, Beyoncé just lost many of her fans due to her horribly misguided idea of making some sort of personal political statement when in front of the largest audience she will ever have. The extremely edgy Lady Gaga was smart enough, or her advisers were, to check her political and shock shtick at the gates and simply wow the audience with her artistic talents. By doing so, regardless of her political positions, Lady Gaga just picked up many new fans.

Instead, Beyoncé made an ill-advised attempt to paint police as evil (although she had police escorting her in and out of the stadium) and spent the remainder of her time trying to fan the flames of racism.
— Brent Norman

Beyoncé knew what she was doing. She has done activist messages before. If she never sold one more song, she’d be fine — financially — the rest of her life. I doubt she cares what the haters are saying this week. I love strong women.
— Mary Andrews

Comments from Facebook are edited for clarity and space:
Watching this police-hating activist prance around on the stage dressed in her Black Panther outfit was offensive to many law-abiding, police-loving citizens who know that all lives matter, including police lives.
— Bob Heck

A talented black entertainer who is sympathetic to the long-standing issue of police abuse and oppression toward blacks avails herself of the opportunity to heighten awareness of the problem. For doing so, she is now ostracized for “not knowing her place” by the same racist society that has allowed civil rights abuse to fester for decades. She should be applauded for her courage.
— Jimmy Busha

Improve police training to prevent civilian deaths
A police officer uses a training simulator in Chicago on Oct. 24, 2011. (Photo: Brett T. Roseman for USA TODAY)
A police officer uses a training simulator in Chicago on Oct. 24, 2011. (Photo: Brett T. Roseman for USA TODAY)

Fatal shootings of civilians at the hands of officers that were caught on video have kept issues of police use of force, and use of excessive force, in the national conversation. In Chicago, the police superintendent was fired and protesters have been demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel resign in the wake of footage released last fall of the 2013 shooting of Laquan McDonald. In San Francisco, the fatal shooting of Mario Woods in December has prompted calls to fire city Police Chief Greg Suhr. In addition, the public’s trust in police is at its lowest in more than 20 years, according to Gallup Polls. See the graphic below for more details.

We asked our followers what they thought could help prevent police use of excessive force. See their responses below, then join the conversation. What do you think? Share your thoughts by calling 540-739-2928. Tweet your views with #policingtheusa, or send us a comment or photo via letters@usatoday.com.

Letter to the editor:
I agree that cops should have more non-lethal options. Police departments should start giving more cops more than just guns to subdue unarmed or lightly armed suspects. It would not only save more lives, but we would also be setting a good example that we can defuse problems effectively without bloodshed. It would also help lessen accusations of racism.
Joshua Ranger; Clearwater, Fla

#TELLUSATODAY: Police should use lethal force as last resort: #tellusatoday

Debates show differences between Dems, GOP on police
The Democratic presidential candidates appear on stage on Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Mic Smith, AP)
The Democratic presidential candidates appear on stage on Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Mic Smith, AP)

The first presidential debates of 2016 underscored that Democrats and Republicans have widely dissimilar priorities. The Democratic presidential candidates talked about how to fix a broken criminal justice system on Jan. 17 in Charleston, S.C. They also talked about addressing systemic racism in that system. Compare that with the Republican debate Jan. 14, also in South Carolina, in which GOP candidates hardly focused on issues of race and justice. Donald Trump made a brief comment about law enforcement, which drew a lot of attention on Twitter. View our followers’ comments, then share your views about the presidential candidates and their views on policing.

YOUR SAY: Racial bias, police mistrust plague some communities

Donald Trump speaks during the GOP presidential debate in on Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)
Donald Trump speaks during the GOP presidential debate in on Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

After grand jury decision in Rice case, search for answers
Tamir Rice (Photo: Rice family)
Tamir Rice (Photo: Rice family)

A Cleveland grand jury decided Dec. 28, not to press criminal charges against the officers responsible for the shooting death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was holding a toy gun at the time of his death. Readers reacted on social media to the grand jury’s decision.

Join our Facebook conversation here to cast your vote: 

It’s not ‘snitching’ to report abuse

Deaths of civilians at the hands of police and cop deaths in the line of duty fuel the #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter movements. One reader suggests a change in behavior from both groups that could save lives. Other readers discuss the power of voting, cameras catching cops and deadly high-speed police chases. Read their comments in this roundup of letters, then join the conversation.

The casket of slain New York police officer Randolph Holder is carried Oct. 28, 2015, in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)
The casket of slain New York police officer Randolph Holder is carried Oct. 28, 2015, in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

Letter to the editor:
Not long after the tragic news of the killing of yet another New York City police officer in the line of duty, some pundits, politicians and civilians started ramping up rhetoric about what is worse: the death of an officer or of a black man. The Blue Lives Matter banner circulated across social media faster than a Kim Kardashian bikini photo.  Many have been quick to note the difference between criminals killing police and police killing young men of color who are often not criminals at all.

I  offer to all New Yorkers and all Americans, specifically the citizens of the nation’s most violent inner cities and the police charged with their protection, something no one ever talks about: similarities.

Too many in minority communities are reluctant if not outright defiant when it comes to cooperating with police, even when they themselves are the victims of criminal activity.  No one wants to be a snitch. As to police, the only wall more formidable than the one in China is the blue wall that goes up instantly whenever a police officer is involved in a questionable death of a citizen — no snitching.

Randolph Holder (Photo: NYPD via AP
Holder (Photo: NYPD via AP)

Good citizens and good police must stop acting on an adolescent definition and perception of “snitching.” If they did, both groups would be safer.

I hope the fatal shooting of New York police officer Randolph Holder, a third-generation officer of color, will make all of us pay less attention to our differences and concentrate on  our similarities.  If not, more distrust and lawlessness loom on the horizon.

Larry D. Fowler; New York, N.Y.

Letter to the editor:
Black lives do indeed count, and so do the lives of police officers, and innocent Muslims both in the USA and abroad. And the people have the right to protest!  However, protests  in the streets causing havoc and destruction of neighborhoods and harm to fellow citizens is counter-productive.

Protests should be taken to the voting booths where competent leaders can be elected to better manage our public servants.  It is the local leadership that has the control of these local issues. To have responsible government, we must have responsible citizens who vote responsibly.

Eugene Whitney; Chula Vista, Calif.

Black Lives Matter activists gather at the Mall of America on Dec. 23, 2015, in Bloomington, Minn.(Photo: Stephen Maturen ,Getty Images)
Black Lives Matter activists gather at the Mall of America on Dec. 23, 2015, in Bloomington, Minn.(Photo: Stephen Maturen ,Getty Images)

Letter to the editor:
For decades, police have beaten, shot and/or killed unarmed citizens, and some have gotten away with it because of the “blue wall” of silence in police departments and courts that take the officers’ word for what happened.

Today, however things are different. Almost everyone walks around with a camera in his or her hand, so police are being recorded doing these things. And as if their brutality wasn’t enough, now some are complaining about being scrutinized for their behavior.

My advice to “officers”: Do your job the way you’re supposed to be doing it, and you won’t have to worry about the scrutiny.

Jeff Clauser; Charlotte

Letter to the editor:
Thank you for the report “FBI underestimates police deaths in chases.” Far too many innocent people are maimed or killed in ill-advised police chases. Now we know the situation is far worse than imagined. Since 1980, more than 370 officers have been killed in chases, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That is much more than the 24 cop deaths counted by the FBI. Meanwhile, a staggering 11,500 civilians, many of whom were not the fleeing drivers, have died in chases during the past 35 years.

In North Carolina, law enforcement frequently set up random road blocks (called license check-points), and there are drivers who panic — some are likely undocumented immigrants who fear deportation if caught — and run the checkpoints. Chases in these situations can end in crashes.

We still don’t know exactly what criteria police agencies use to justify dangerous high-speed chases. People fleeing police may be under the influence, may be mentally ill or may be wanted. Combine that with overzealous police who want to get the “bad guy” at all costs, and you have the perfect recipe for a tragic outcome. It’s time to reserve high-speed chases for only those situations in which law enforcement believe that even the death of an innocent bystander is worth the price of bringing the fleeing driver to justice. Let’s stop killing innocent people without just cause.

Patrick O’Neill; Garner, N.C.

Graphic video of Chicago cop shooting needed to be seen

A frame grab from a dashcam video released by Chicago Police. (Photo: Chicago Police via epa)

A frame grab from a dashcam video released by Chicago Police. (Photo: Chicago Police via epa)

We asked our followers on Twitter what they thought about the city of Chicago releasing the graphic video of a police officer shooting Laquan McDonald. It shows the 17 year old being shot 16 times. Some readers thought it was a bad move, which could incite more violence over McDonald’s death. But others felt the release was a needed step in holding police accountable. Read more of their comments below. Then voice your view on Twitter with #policingtheusa, email letters@usatoday.com or leave a message at 540-739-2928.

Letter to the editor:
IMG_4596While sitting on desk duty waiting to be indicted for over a year, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, made an estimated $80,000, according to the Better Government Association Payroll Database. This kind of fleecing of taxpayer dollars is reprehensible and only adds salt to an already open wound in the poorest of communities that are being stoked by fear of the very people who have been sworn to serve and protect them.

The payoff in this atrocity is no greater or worse than the crime itself for those who have suffered in poverty will continue to suffer, but not in silence. We march because the solution is not to silence the voices of those of us who fight for racial justice and equality, but to raise them.
William J. Booker; Chicago

Cameras help hold police accountable
(Photo: George Frey, Getty Images)
(Photo: George Frey, Getty Images)

An overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of race, back police officers wearing body cameras. Eighty-six percent of Americans back the use of such devices,  according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. See graphic below for details. After videos surfaced showing three Tuscaloosa, Ala., officers making a violent arrest, they were put on leave Nov. 9. We asked our Twitter followers what role videos have in monitoring police. Read their views then share yours by tweeting with #policingtheusa, calling 540-739-2928, emailing letters@usatoday.com, or uploading video or photos to Your Take.

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#TELLUSATODAY: Videos valuable in holding police accountable

‘Ferguson effect’ behind crime wave?
Police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in St. Louis. (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in St. Louis. (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Although crime rates have declined since the mid-1990s, some big cities are starting to see an increase. Is the “Ferguson effect” behind the rise? FBI Director James Comey suggested in October that police officers are pulling back out of fear of being videotaped and blamed for improper behavior. More cautious officers might be emboldening criminals, causing an uptick in violent crime, Comey says. What did our readers have to say? That, among other things, body cameras protect cops; they don’t hinder them. Read their letters and tweets below. Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

USA TODAY Editorial Board debates data, “Ferguson effect”

Letter to the editor:
SubmitSome big-city mayors and even FBI head James Comey theorize that there is a “Ferguson effect” — that videos taken by passers-by of cops behaving badly inhibit arrests and are spiking crime rates. The data are mixed; some big-city crime rates are up and some down, with no definitive connection between videos and crime rates. But if there is a Ferguson effect, it didn’t inhibit former deputy Ben Fields from being violent with a teen girl in a Columbia, S.C., high school. He flipped her upside-down before tossing her across the room.

The lesson here is that when bad cops go berserk, their rage makes them oblivious to the ubiquitous cell cameras recording their violent outbursts. The vast majority of cops who control their non-professional emotions or character flaws likely view the taping of their citizen interactions positively.

But seeing the frequent videos of brutal cops traumatizing, injuring and sometimes killing unarmed citizens makes one wonder how many others have been victimized without any means of redress before the video revolution.

Walt Zlotow; Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Letter to the editor:
USA TODAY’s editorial on FBI Director James Comey’s comments couldn’t be more off-base (“FBI chief jumps gun on ‘Ferguson effect’: Our view”). It’s hard to compile data from conversations with police officers all over the USA who feel a sense of abandonment by their political leaders. That feeling is real to the men and women who stand on guard for all of us. It’s trite to say it, but perception is reality. Way to go, Director Comey!

John W. Adams; Indianapolis

crimerates

 

 

Demonstrators calling for justice for Tamir Rice, a black boy who was fatally shot by a white police officer, rally outside of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on June 9, 2015. (Photo: Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports)
Demonstrators calling for justice for Tamir Rice, a black boy who was fatally shot by a white police officer, rally outside of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on June 9, 2015. (Photo: Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports)
Doubts remain about Tamir Rice shooting

Letter to the editor:
The fact that police officers often respond on the basis of a suspect’s color rather than actions is amply demonstrated in the tragic case of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old boy, holding a pellet gun, was shot dead because he apparently was perceived to be threatening and holding a real gun.

Officer Timothy  Loehmann, who was responding to the reports of a person waving a gun,  fired the fatal shots. This prima facie evidence contained in the surveillance video of the shooting is overwhelming in showing that the officer had “no reason” to perceive an imminent threat to his life while sitting inside his police car. He fired within two seconds after getting out of the car. This knee-jerk action appears unwarranted.

Above all, it doesn’t take a crime expert to figure out that the published outside reviews stating that the officer firing the fatal shots used “reasonable” force is not only preposterous, but is also flawed. It’s a shame that a suspect’s motives were attributed to his color rather than his actions.

I hope before there is a further erosion of trust in the law enforcement system and its enforcers, our judicial system will eventually strike an equitable balance in the scale of justice considering the flawed perceptions about race.

Atul M. Karnik; Woodside, N.Y.

Letter to the editor:
The 1% of police that do injustice should not affect all the good protection the vast majority of police provide for us. The president has done a disservice to the vast majority of good policing and should not render any comments positive or negative. When are the uneducated of society going to take responsibility for themselves and stop blaming the police or society?

Don W. Cherry; Williamsburg, Va.

SubmitLetter to the editor:
When someone says, “Do black lives matter?” All you have to say is, “Yes, black lives do matter.” We aren’t looking for you to take the opportunity to say, “What about all lives?” or “What about our police officers?” We just asked one question. And if you cannot simply say yes, they do matter, then are you telling me that also, racism doesn’t exist anymore?

Carnetta Sheffield; Fullerton, Calif.

 

Police accountability, #blacklivesmatter

Since a Texas deputy was shot to death at a Houston-area gas station on Aug. 28, six other police officers have been fatally shot while on duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Some readers fear that the #blacklivesmatter movement is contributing to anti-cop sentiment. At the same time, readers acknowledge that sometimes police officers use excessive force. When that happens, how good is the system at holding them accountable? While 30% of Americans say police forces are excellent or good at holding officers accountable for misconduct, 36% say they do a poor job (see graphics below for more details). What do you think about police accountability in your community? Share your views with us.

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Letter to the editor:
Although commentary writer Michael Wear understands the leadership of police unions, he doesn’t seem to understand Democrats very well. I believe that when Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke to the Fraternal Order of Police in August, she was telling them the type of behavior the Department of Justice expects from officers when she thanked them for being “the peacemakers” (“Is #blacklivesmatter protecting police unions? Column“).

MORE:In face of criticism, police officials preaching de-escalation tactics

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has praised the brave work of police officers on a number of recent occasions, but he has also issued an executive order that says the New York State attorney general will be in charge of investigating any killings of unarmed civilians involving police officers. The District Attorneys’ Association of New York State and many of the state’s police unions are unhappy with the decision. I believe that the Lynch Justice Department will certainly become involved in cases of police misconduct that are passed over at the local level. Democrats don’t blindly go along with any union, and all union members certainly don’t vote for Democrats. 

M. W. Schwartzwalder; Walden, N.Y.

Police make a difference
Letter to the editor:

My elderly grandfather became especially confused one night and wandered hours from home. Police helped find him, even bought him fast food because he had not eaten in hours and was confused, and took not only great care of my grandfather but also my grandmother during the whole situation. These police truly served my family.
Jake Randall; Midland, Mich.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)


Letter to the editor:
With the homicide rate increasing in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has opted for putting more police on the streets of the more violent areas of the city. This in turn caused members of the #blacklivesmatter movement to boo and heckle the mayor in August. Bowser, who is black, was not cowed by these activists and stood her ground saying, “I will not be shouted down or scared away.”

Bully for the mayor. But what does this tell you about the #blacklivesmatter movement? It sounds like a lot of hypocrisy to me. If black lives matter, then wouldn’t they be for more cops to stem the killing of young black men by other black men? Apparently not. The anti-cop sentiment of the movement reflects the growing racial divide since President Obama got elected president. This radical movement does absolutely nothing to improve the health and safety of black Americans. But it gets a lot of ink in the liberal press. Go figure.

In addition, in Chicago over the weekend of Sept.18-20, eight people were killed, and more than 40 wounded. Many of the victims were black. Is the #blacklivesmatter movement going to have a traffic blocking protest there? Did you hear any outrage from black activists such as President Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Eric Holder? And it isn’t just Chicago. This black-on-black war is being repeated in many of our large cities. But it’s not on the evening news. I can only surmise that black lives do not matter all the time — only when white police officers are involved. What a bunch of hypocrites!

Tom R. Kovach; Nevis, Minn.

People attend a rally to call for justice for Eric Garner on July 18, 2015, in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)
People attend a rally to call for justice for Eric Garner on July 18, 2015, in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)


Letter to the editor:
Yes police sometimes use excessive force. Although not as severe as a shooting, witness the recent “takedown” of James Blake, a retired tennis star, in New York City. Blake was misidentified as suspect in a fraud scheme. The police commissioner acknowledged that excessive force might have been used in that case.

Remember, as in all aspects of life, there are good people and bad. The news media generally decide the guilt of a police officer within minutes of an incident seemingly without regard to any forthcoming investigative information. The Ferguson, Mo., case is a perfect example of a media lynching.

Regarding the #blacklivesmatter movement, the news media are twisting it to suit their interests and, as such, it is divisive and drives our multicultural society further apart. As already noted, more concern and attention must be paid to black-on-black killings.

Bill Kuttruff; Hilton Head, S.C.

Richmond Chief of Police Chris Magnus stands with demonstrators to protest the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths during a peaceful demonstration in Richmond, Calif., on Dec. 9, 2014. (Photo: Kristopher Skinner, AP)
Richmond Chief of Police Chris Magnus stands with demonstrators to protest the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths during a peaceful demonstration in Richmond, Calif., on Dec. 9, 2014. (Photo: Kristopher Skinner, AP)
Foster respect for law enforcement

We’ve been asking readers how they would improve relations between police and the communities they serve. Share your thoughts with us using #policingtheusa on Twitter or call 540-739-2928 to leave a message. Submit photos or videos of how police make a difference in your neighborhood by uploading them via Your Take. You can also send letters to letters@usatoday.com. Comments from Facebook have been condensed and are edited for clarity and grammar.

Letter to the editor:
I recently retired from policing in Flint, Mich., after 30 years. I never had a problem with getting and giving respect from citizens. The reason being I grew up in that community. The days of hiring from within the community are gone.

Randolph Tolbert; Grand Blanc, Mich.

READ MORE:‘All lives matter’ a creed for Richmond, Calif. police

Comments from Facebook:
Body cameras would take the bullying, physical or verbal, out of the police officers. I am all for these cameras. And it is not just a white officer and black citizen situation. There have been such instances between white officers and white citizens in my own small city.
Bob Rejefski Jr.

A possible solution to the problem is hiring police officers who are actually from, or live in, the neighborhoods that they patrol. They would inspire greater trust and respect.
Douglas Garner

 

Comment from Facebook:
All lives matter.
Aileen Ho

Demonstrators mark the anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 10, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.
Demonstrators mark the anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Strengthen ties between police and minority communities: Your Say Interactive

More than a year after Michael Brown, a black man, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., the nation continues to grapple with issues of racial tension between police and minority communities. Since the Ferguson shooting, the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody this April in Baltimore has renewed focus on the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Darren Goforth
Darren Goforth

At the same time, some people fear the movement is making the streets unsafe for police officers, especially after Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was shot to death while filling his police car at a gas station near Houston on Aug. 28.

Nationally, about 12% of officers in police departments are black, which generally matches the 13% of the U.S. population that is black. However, in smaller cities and towns, the racial makeup of police departments often results in a majority white police force serving a majority black population. (See the demographic breakdown of the Ferguson Police Department in the graphics below.) These situations can exacerbate mistrust in communities. For example, fewer than one-third of Americans say police forces do a good or excellent job in treating racial and ethnic groups equally. When you compare confidence in law enforcement in terms of race, 46% of blacks say they have very little trust in police vs. 12% of whites, according to Pew Research Center surveys.

MORE: Examine the data on police use of force

We asked our readers and followers on social media to tell us what they thought about police relations and minority communities, the #blacklivesmatter movement, and what could be done to improve ties. Find out what some of them said, and learn more about what people thought about the unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore in the graphics below. Share your thoughts with us using #policingtheusa on Twitter or calling 540-739-2928 to leave a message. You can also send your letters or photos to letters@usatoday.com. Comments from Facebook have been condensed and are edited for clarity and grammar.

Letter to the editor:
I find the use of lethal force by the police disturbing when there are other alternatives available to them. There is no excuse for killing an unarmed person. There is no excuse for starting and escalating a confrontation over a traffic stop, as happened in Texas. Police officers must be held accountable for their actions and be trained to de-escalate a situation, no matter what verbal provocation is offered by a citizen. Police cannot have thin skins. The police are part of the problem, and every effort should be made to root out unstable, stressed out, unfit police officers.

The news media are to blame for racial tensions as well. They pick and choose what to cover and, I believe, help instigate problems by recording riots and other disturbances. Put a camera in someone’s face, with a reporter egging them on, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The #blacklivesmatter movement is becoming too political. All citizens, no matter their race, feel that their lives matter. I fear a backlash from the police as they are feeling the pressure of officers getting killed. The recent shooting of the officer at the gas station near Houston will add to the frustration of the police.

Michael J. Pietryga; Versailles, Ky.

Reader comment from Facebook:
I was very proactive during my years with a police department that was at least 90% white and served a community that was close to half black and half white. I actively worked with several school programs throughout the city. Many people blame our current problems on the police, the community, the family and the schools. Actually, it comes down to the individual. I, not my family, made the decision to make something of myself. If you want an education, you simply have to put some effort into obtaining the education and the level of education you want.
George K Vick

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Raise awareness of roots of racial injustice

Letter to the editor:
The #blacklivesmatter movement is, and was, an awareness effort to bring attention to the problem between law enforcement and innocent black lives. But, as usual, those who are not being affected would rather deflect than face the problem head-on.

Not addressing the problem does not make it go away, people. It’s kind of like loading ammo into a firearm and pulling the trigger. Whether you like it or not, it’s going to go boom!

Dawn Stewart; Charlotte

Reader comment from Facebook:
Drop the qualifier. All lives matter.
Tonya Wilkie

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Reader comment from Facebook:
Sadly, the news media play a big role in how people of color are looked upon. Just check out the way the Baltimore riots were covered compared with the coverage of the same type of damage done by whites at sporting and other events. People of color are called thugs, while whites are often described as “passionate.”  If police officers would go back to walking the beat, getting to know the people in the communities they are being paid to protect, then a lot of this unnecessary stuff would not be going on. Crime in certain areas would also start to diminish.
Marsha Clark-Moore

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Build bridges

Reader comment from Facebook:
We are divided because of racism. Before #blacklivesmatter came on the scene, racism had shown its face, during President Obama’s first term and way before that. Racism is building up more and escalating to extremes.  Minds are so filled with prejudice, hate, ignorance and uncaring that nothing that deals with true common sense or character will ever be upheld.
Diraj Robinson

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Letter to the editor:
I always thought that the NAACP should have been NAAAP, the National Association for the Advancement of All People. You don’t bring people together by separating  them. The same is true of the #blacklivesmatter movement. All lives matter. That needs  to be said. In continuing attacks of all sorts, many in the black community are doing to police what they have fought against regarding race: using a few to judge the many. We can correct individual problems without condemning all law enforcement.

Mel Maurer; Westlake, Ohio