In his June 16 column Courtland Milloy describes an incident involving a bicyclist in a park who reported to police that youths in a Honda sedan had pointed a gun at him. The victim had supplied a license number to the U.S. Park Police, which in turn had sent officers to wait for the car when it arrived at the registered owner's house. The bicyclist was white, the youths in the Honda were black, and the police handling the call were white.
The fact that the gun was a toy doesn't mean a crime had not occurred. If you commit a robbery with a toy gun, it is still armed robbery.
Milloy excuses the youths' actions as the result of "naivete," and asserts that photographing them amounts to "harassment" by the police.
The police were investigating a crime and documenting their investigation by taking photos. That the likelihood of a prosecution wasn't great doesn't excuse the police from doing a thorough investigation. These were not mug shots, nor were they for "police records," as Milloy claimed, but routine documentation for the case file.
Perhaps the Park Police should apologize to the intervening mother for what was either real or imagined rudeness. But Milloy should apologize to Park Police and his readers for distorting the facts.
-- John Hoffman