RAID ON DUPONT CIRCLE

Letters to the Editor

Washington Post, July 7, 1992

The raid on bicycle couriers in Dupont Circle is a disgrace to the U.S.Park Police, who committed textbook police harassment, and to the civic"leaders" of the Dupont Circle area, who instigated and applaudedthe harassment {District Weekly, June 25} .

When police officials admit that confiscation of unregistered bicyclesis "a ruse" for some other end, it's time for us all to get worried.The Post's article glibly says, "The real issue is drinking in thepark." Nonsense. The Park Service allows drinking in almost everyother federal park in the District. So what's the real problem? Drunkenness?Pot smoking? Urinating in public? If so, the Park Police should enforcethose laws -- or maybe supply portable toilets. Instead the Park Policeinvented a reason for rounding up a group of people and confiscating theirproperty. That's harassment.

The Post left important questions unanswered. For example, the reporterquotes Dennis Bass of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission as saying themessengers "are harassing the law-abiding people." When? How?The Post failed to follow up on this blanket accusation.

Both the Park Police and the civic "leaders" should get theirpriorities straight. When police use rarely enforced laws to fine "troublemakers"and confiscate their property, citizens have a lot more to worry aboutthan messengers drinking beer in Dupont Circle.

PAUL BENNETT, Washington


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