To the editor:
(re: “A different memory,” March 29)
Jeffrey Dinowitz stated in a recent letter to The Riverdale Press that “we are fortunate to have a commanding officer of the 50th Precinct who clearly cares about hearing what the community has to say, does not shy away from difficult questions or public scrutiny, and who has done a terrific job for the people of our community.”
The brutal beating of Alfred Burns, and O’Toole’s public condemnation of him, were both clear and outrageous violations of his right to due process. It is a public representative’s responsibility to assist the public in assuring that all people in their jurisdiction are treated in accordance with the Constitution and human rights.
The words Assemblyman Dinowitz chose in praising O’Toole clearly amount to an endorsement of his outrageous behavior and language. Apparently, Mr. Dinowitz needs a refresher course on due process: The Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution each contain a due process clause. Due process deals with the administration of justice, and thus the due process clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty or property by the government outside the sanction of law.
Mr. Dinowitz also had the nerve to accuse a member of the North Bronx Racial Justice Coalition of lying for questioning his despicable handling of this horrible situation. As head of the 50th Precinct, Deputy Inspector O’Toole rashly condemned an accused man and justified the viciously brutal beating inflicted on him during an arrest.
And Mr. Dinowitz praises O’Toole, saying he “has done a terrific job for the people of our community.”
Mr. Dinowitz owes an apology to Jennifer Scarlott for accusing her of lying.
And he owes an apology to the general population of the district he is supposed to represent for failing to hold the local police superintendent to appropriate standards in the conduct of his highly sensitive job.