ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

May 10, 1989

1989.05.10: Letter to Village Voice Against NYPD Helicopters

Michael Z. Letwin

Watts 1965

May 10, 1989

To The [Village Voice] Editor:

Let’s all hope that Wayne Barrett’s proposal for a major increase in the use of helicopters by the NYPD (“The Park Debacle, May 9, 1989) never materializes.

Barrett is correct that in Los Angeles, the city with the largest police air force in the U.S., choppers contribute to a tremendous number of arrests, a reflection of the fact that the LAPD has the efficiency of the SS compared to the Keystone Cops of the NYPD. But as with the NYPD’s Tactical Narcotics Teams (TNT), arresting lots of people has been completely ineffective in stopping crime, as the uncontrollable explosion of street violence in L.A. amply demonstrates.

The LAPD’s prowess has earned it only a well-deserved notoriety for waging war against city’s Black and Chicano communities. While growing up in L.A. during the ’60s and ’70s, I witnessed the way the police brought…

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