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Treatment of cleric unacceptable

An open letter to Chief Thomas V. Dale of Patrol Borough Queens South:

If courtesy, respect and professionalism is the motto of the NYPD, then something went wrong in the arrest of the Rev. Dock Johnson.

From the story told by him to you and all present at the meeting held on Feb. 19 and moderated by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks at the St. Albans Family Life Center and on Feb. 21 at the St. Luke Baptist Cathedral, many were displeased.

At the first meeting, several items of interest and concern were shared, along with the information of how Johnson was mishandled by the police when, after continually identifying himself as a clergyman with his hands in the air, he intervened in how the police were mishandling several young boys.

During the conflict, the sergeant finally instructed the officer to arrest Johnson. He was handcuffed and taken to the 113th Precinct in a police van.

After the statement made by Johnson, the same made during the Feb. 19 meeting, a lengthy discussion was held on what should be done to the sergeant and the officer who arrested Johnson. The consensus from all who openly expressed themselves was that both should be removed from the 113th Precinct immediately if not sooner. The majority felt there was no respect shown to Johnson and an injustice had been perpetrated upon him by being arrested.

In a concluding statement made by me, you indicated you felt the statement was threatening and said you would take several days to digest it and then consider making a final judgment. At no time in the discussion was firing the two officers ever mentioned or discussed. We were adamant they must be removed from this precinct.

During the Feb. 21 meeting, neither we nor you discussed the firing of anyone. For you and Inspector Pearson to meet with the Revs. Johnson and Brothers was discourteous to the elected officials and other clergy present.

Consequently, in a meeting on Feb. 23, Johnson accepted an apology because he did not want the officers fired.

If how you solved this problem is your way of doing things, then after 29 years you should consider putting in your retirement papers.

I am requesting a written explanation to this missive.

Rev. Charles L. Norris Sr.

St. Albans

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