Letter to the editor: Irritated with overreaction by some police
To the editor,
In the mid-1970s we lived in one of the interesting Queen Anne era homes in Vine Street, Paso Robles. It was still not a very busy thoroughfare that it would become. It was surprising to me, therefore, when I observed a young unresisting teen being made to lie face down on the front lawn as a policeman knelt by his side handcuffing him.
I questioned the necessity for such rough handling and was informed that the young fellow had been speeding on his motorcycle along Vine Street. A young, unresisting teen, handcuffed for vehicular speeding? I should have followed up on what I considered to be an unnecessary police action. I hope the most the young fellow suffered was a fine and no trauma from being made to lie facedown whilst being handcuffed. At that time, it never dawned on me to discuss this overreaction, shall we say, by the police.
My only other experience with the Paso Robles police, was when I mistakenly assumed that the police were in charge of collecting overdue parking fees. I had spent a “small bomb’ on buying my husband an outfit from the skin out, so to speak. Unfortunately, I had not kept track of the parking meter, and was fined $2.00 (1970s rate!) for being five minutes over the time limit.
When I complained person-to-person on the phone to Chief of Police, Vern Mathison, he kindly and patiently explained that it was the Paso Robles merchants, not the police department, that were in charge of such. I thanked him for clearing this up, whilst commenting that I would no longer shop in Paso Robles but would take my business to the Madonna Plaza and Santa Maria malls.
The point: one policeman’s overreaction to a fairly minor infraction; whilst a kindly, laid-back reaction by the Paso Robles Chief of Police mollified my irritation. Contrast this now with the overreaction of SLO Police Chief Deanna Cantrell who authorized the use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators with Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis who civilly interacted with the peaceful protesters in this town.
Maisie (Mary) Egger
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