News, November 21: “City pays $1.4 million in two years for claims against cops”

Hold ‘Em Accountable

Police departments must be focused on community safety and ethical conduct.

My son, Kerry Lewis, was murdered in Albuquerque in 2009, and unfortunately it involved corrupt conduct by some APD, and cooperation by DA Brandenburg’s crew. ...

The tragic shooting of Benavidez reactivated pain because of the casual negligence of St. Vincent’s and the violent overkill reaction of SFPD. ... In August of 2007 my son suffered a breakdown and it took me two attempts to get SFPD to admit him into the psych hold at St. Vincent’s. He was discharged after the hold without support and he broke down again two weeks later in Boulder, where the university helped me to get him proper care. ...

So, the way Benavidez was mishandled hit me and the pain his family lives with, too. … Just as APD has had to, hopefully SFPD has improved their handling of mental problem situations.

Please keep emphasis and a spotlight upon police accountability, as they are intended to keep community safer, not add to tragedies. …

Media coverage is crucial to ethical policing, and therefore it is threatened by pressures from agencies and even editors. My biggest disappointment and frustration has been the reluctance and refusal of local media to honestly report, so I am grateful for your integrity.

Larissa Lewis
Santa Fe

Extra Thoughts

World AIDS Day

Consider the fact that 35 million people ... have lost their lives to the AIDS pandemic since 1984. We now have 35.7 million people on the planet living with HIV/AIDS ... including children. Staggering numbers to wrap your head around. The medical truth is that we now have treatments that sustain life for many years and after long periods with antiretroviral treatments prevent passing the virus.

Please join us on Saturday Dec. 1 [at the Southwest CARE Aid & Comfort Gala at the Eldorado Hotel] as we honor the fallen with a candlelight commemoration and celebrate the life of those now able to thrive with this disease. You can help, and the Southwest CARE Citizen Advisory Board will help you find your place in the fight.

Andy Strong Jordan
CAB of Southwest CARE