Opinion & Editorial

Cottage Grove police behavior should be focus

Dear Editor: 

I’m writing as a concerned citizen. Thank you for covering the police beating near Main Street. I know it takes courage to cover a controversial topic as some in our town threaten others for even speaking of it.

I’m writing however because the article does not do the situation justice.

You open and close (and pepper throughout) the article with a discussion of mental health. Many people are using the mental health of the victim to distract from the issue of police brutality. The issue is not that there was a mentally ill man in downtown Cottage Grove, which is the first line of the article. 

The issue is that the police attacked him. Otherwise, it’d be just another incident in the police log. The issue is that a bystander joined in the attack and was cordial with the officers. And that the police continue to get a salary of our tax dollars while the beaten man is recovering from jail and lost two teeth.

The police force of Cottage Grove has two (including the chief) already on paid leave and under investigation. Add to that the four involved in this attack – that’s approximately half the force! 

The story could easily have been headlined “Police attack mentally ill man in Cottage Grove” or “Police and bystander join to pummel a man in Cottage Grove.” Instead, it is a story of how other people react to the news of the beating, with first voice given to police misdirections. How about the article headline: “Half of Cottage Grove police on paid leave and under investigation”?

Many are calling for better training but how much training does one need in order not to beat someone up when they are down on the ground and a few of your fellow officers are holding the man down for you? Globally and historically speaking, this is, unfortunately, how men and women (especially uniformed men and women) act when not held accountable for their actions.

Josh Fattal, Cottage Grove



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