Re “Citrus Heights cops accused of inflicting severe burns” (Page 1A, July 20): I feel so bad for James Bradford Nelson III, who was severely burned by Citrus Heights police. We must acknowledge there is a serious problem with area police’s use of improper force. Recently, I saw a person acting bizarrely, obviously in need of mental health assistance. But he was a minority and I was afraid to call 911 for fear the police would kill or injure him. What a sad situation we’ve come to.
John Wagner, Sacramento
James Bradford Nelson III was driving down Auburn Boulevard under the influence of a controlled substance when he rear-ended another vehicle. Nelson gets out of the car, made a phone call and starts running in and out of on-coming traffic fleeing the scene of an accident. He was almost hit by several cars, and ran into a KFC where he jumps on the counter and tries to fight with the manager. He tried to rob someone’s wallet, and 911 calls were made. He was acting erratically when the Citrus Heights police arrived. Given all this information, it’s highly unlikely that Nelson would have been willing to move to a shady area to talk it out with the police. Citrus Heights police did their job and took him down because he was resisting arrest, after committing crimes. Police did not burn him. He burned himself.
Nancy Wilkinson, Citrus Heights
Once again, The Sacramento Bee has victimized the criminal and criminalized the police. The main gist of the article focused on burns that the assailant received while being subdued. A graphic, colorized photo of the poor man was plastered on the front page, as was a picture of the anguished parents. His mother portrayed her son as a troubled man, afflicted by schizophrenia since his teenage years. She attributed his mental illness as the reason for his criminal behavior. Yeah, right. His schizophrenic episode included assaulting customers and employees at a KFC.
James Pantalone, Fair Oaks
Re “Does Sacramento have the political will to address homelessness?” (California Forum, July 16): Mayor Darrell Steinberg hit the nail squarely on the head when he stated we need the political will to fix homelessness. We know what works. In 2015, Sacramento spurred Sacramento Steps Forward to create the Common Cents Program, which utilizes formerly homeless outreach navigators to build relationships with homeless individuals in order to connect them to the services required to meet their needs. The mayor lists the Whole Person Care funds, new housing opportunities, and Sacramento County’s pending application for the “No Place Like Home” initiative. All this will help. However, we are lacking the coordinated, collaborative plan needed to maximize the opportunity presented.
Howard Lawrence, Carmichael
Re “Laura’s Law is helping save people with severe mental illness” (California Forum, July 16): Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad’s op-ed about Laura’s Law provided impressive data. Everyone trying to end homelessness should pay attention. If Yolo County reduced the time people were homeless by 90 percent, and reduced police calls by 50 percent, think how much could be gained if Sacramento County also adopted Laura’s Law. Why hasn’t Sacramento County implemented Laura’s Law? With Sacramento’s homeless population growing and an estimated 70 percent of homeless people having mental illness or substance-abuse problems, Sacramento County supervisors should implement Laura’s Law. It is scary to see a homeless person on the streets or bikeways having a psychotic episode. I am scared for the person having the psychotic episode and I am scared for those of us who are nearby, especially children walking.
Chris Paros, Sacramento
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