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I would offer my congratulations on an otherwise excellent cover story (“Shots in the Dark,” 5/10) last week except for one thing. After reading your article, an unknowing person might think that police brutality and the targeting of people of color aren’t really problems, rearing their ugly heads only when obvious knuckleheads like Carlton Jones are involved.
The fact is that Prince George’s County is home to a violent police force. Prince Jones was one of many young black men killed or brutalized by these “servers and protectors.” Yet only a few words in the opening paragraph hint at this overwhelming trend. How about replacing some of the more mundane details with some analysis of the P.G. police department and its ugly history? The People’s Coalition for Police Accountability in Prince George’s County has started a “Dirty Dozen” campaign to get rid of the most egregious offenders, and that still only scratches the surface of what is going on in the county.
The argument that the story wasn’t trying to reveal anything like a trend but was merely a piece about a certain individual doesn’t fly. Carlton Jones wasn’t just an individual; he was a member of an organized force charged with maintaining the status quo. This story can’t be made without this point, and to try to do so is to trivialize the death of Prince Jones and all those like him. Placing Carlton Jones and Prince Jones in their proper context would surely provide your readers with a more complete version of the story you attempted to tell.