Letters from the Issue of June 9 , 2005

Friends of Fidel, Miami Beach beatings, handgun chic

As for Mr. Berry, I pray he receives justice because nowadays it's all too fleeting. If there's any way reporter Francisco Alvarado can contact Mr. Berry, please tell him that fear is exactly what the police hope to create. But he should not fear. He should turn his anger into the fuel necessary to overcome such adversity and corruption, to rise above it with pride, aware that he is not the stereotypical fool the police make every minority out to be.

If you are a Miami Beach cop reading this and you feel you're honest, then do as your feelings preach and expose those who aren't. I know not all cops are criminals with badges, but just standing by and being a spectator doesn't warrant commendation.

Raul Diez

Miami Beach

Intimidate: Beaten and Harassed

My neighbor's experience was also a nightmare: All I can say about "To Serve and Protect and Intimidate" is this: Welcome to Miami Beach. As I read the article it was like déjà vu. I had a neighbor two years ago who went through the same nightmare. He was also beaten, except in his case they would drop the charges against him -- battery on a law-enforcement officer -- only if he signed a waiver promising he wouldn't sue.

In addition he was harassed at home on quite a few occasions, as I personally witnessed. It could be 1:30 a.m. and Miami Beach police would be pounding on his door and cursing. On the advice of his lawyer, he wouldn't open. But finally he wanted a normal life, wanted it to all go away, so he signed the waiver.

You'd be surprised how many things happen on Miami Beach. The police here have a way of turning things around and trumping up charges, making you the bad guy. But unless you have the financial power to fight them, you're screwed.

I feel for Mr. Berry and hope to hear a positive outcome.

Name Withheld by Request

Miami Beach

Intimidate: Idiotic

He was one of the best teachers I ever had: It pains me that my former teacher from Miami Beach High was beaten for no reason by Miami Beach police. I hope Mr. Berry sues the City of Miami Beach for such idiotic things that happened to him.

Mr. Berry was one of the best teachers I've ever met, especially when he tutored a group I was in for the Florida High School Competency Test. His explanations were simple and easy to understand, and when you didn't understand, he'd take the time to explain to each person.

I wish him good luck and success in suing the city. Please give him my regards and tell him he's an awesome professor of mathematics.

Alexis Guerrero


Intimidate: Dreams Destroyed

Get rid of the bad cops and reward the good ones: I read New Times because the paper tells it like it really is. It keeps those with power under control. They know they can be exposed at any time! I read Francisco Alvarado's article "To Serve and Protect and Intimidate" and I tend to believe Mr. Berry's story because he was someone with a good job, good background, good education, and according to the testimony of co-workers, he did not seem to be the kind of character the Miami Beach police officers described. He had no reason to hide behind the race card, as they claim. His intelligence and education alone were sufficient. He had risen above the norm by himself.

The real problem is the power given to those in uniform. Unfortunately most police officers watch each other's back instead of correcting each other in moments like these. I truly believe they have caused Mr. Berry a lot of hardship and mental stress and should pay for it. It's not right to destroy someone's life or dreams just because they had a bad day.

I have met very nice police officers in my life, but there are probably just as many bad ones out there as nice ones. Hey, why have a public-service job if you can't do it right?

My son was also pulled over in Miami Beach and the officer was pushing him around on a dark street and provoking him, calling him names and so on as he was giving the officer his ID. He claims the officer was ready to hit him when another police officer arrived to check on him, realized what was going on, and stayed there until all was okay.

To this day my son thanks that officer for being there, and I thank God for him too! Let's weed out those bad cops and promote those who do an extra-good job!

Name Withheld by Request


When Celebrities Really Matter

Our issue this Sunday: global warming. Welcome to Meet the Press, Miss Hilton: I was reading Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column titled "The D Word" (May 26) and everything seemed okay till the very end, where I saw this ludicrous statement made by a local Democratic Party strategist: "People were discussing how to get Alec Baldwin to come down for a [Democratic Party] fundraiser. Now, Jimmy [Morales] can get Alec Baldwin on a plane with one phone call. But he didn't say a word. He's conserving his strength."

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