Blood is thicker than water: I would like to say a few things about "Love and Hate" [February 1]. William "Bad Skin" Forrest is my stepfather. I was infuriated when I read this article and am writing because of how sick I am of watching someone I love very much be humiliated by fifth-grade insults.
Maybe instead of blaming everything on racism in this city and automatically assuming that a white Irish police officer is racist, you should stop to think that there are two sides to every story. It is clear that no grown, mature man like my stepfather would start saying something and continue to taunt someone without that person giving them a reason, without a man saying one word back to him. Maybe instead of citing the African American's cut lip and bruises, you should state the officer's injuries and the full extent of the bar owner's injuries.
And if all you are going to do is call my stepfather "Bad Skin" and "Bad Complexion," maybe you should go back to school and learn some new descriptive words. Just like Aric has a name, so does my stepfather, Billy.
Billy has done nothing but support me and my younger sister like his own daughters since we met him eight years ago. He is a loving, caring person who is very open with me and never has uttered a racist word about any group in front of me. Your article is what I learned in school is "one-sided reporting."
Under cover of lightness: Wow! What a story. I am not surprised. I know this happens more often than people would think, but not with so much proof of the incident and prior acts of the "Bad Skin" cop. He was a very unhappy, insecure person.
I can relate to this behavior of racists, as I am biracial. I tell people I am black, but I am bright-complexioned, with a very light skin tone -- so light that I recently got a ticket from a cop, and he listed my race as "Caucasian." So I get to hear the racist talk from white people who don't know me.
Example: In my job I had to ask an employee of a nearby school system whether it was open on Martin Luther King Day. His response? "We're waiting for four more of them to die, so we can take a whole week off." I get to hear more than my share of gratuitous "nigger" comments. I thank you for having the courage to write this story and exposing the cops for what they are.
Rock Island, Illinois
Be sure to appeal to the politicians: I applaud Kevin Hoffman not only for having the courage to write such a piece, but especially for giving the victims a voice. I never will understand the stigma of interracial relationships and the ignorance it brings out in people.
Cleveland is rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, and I am saddened by the negative light this shines on our city. I exhort Mayor Jackson and police officials to step up to the plate and make an example of these men by punishing them to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a message that racial violence will not be tolerated here.
The left coast is shocked: I'm sitting here so pissed, I'm almost shaking. I'm 53 years old and feel so helpless when I read about shit like this happening in America, for God's sakes. What the hell is wrong with Cleveland's government, that people like that racist cop are not only wearing badges, but are also armed? If this S.O.B. isn't removed from the police force, something is very wrong.
Good luck with your outrageous situation -- you need all you can get!
Clearlake Oaks, California
Know their haunts: A well-written article from beginning to end. However, I wonder whether Scene will be following up with the results of this story at a future date.
As an empowered African American who sometimes crosses ethnic lines when dating, I'd like to be aware of places like these. Even though I must always be on guard for people such as "Bad Skin," it would be nice to know where to limit contact with such people.
Chumps, not champs: Sorry, there are no American heroes fighting in Iraq -- at least, no one fighting under the stars and bars ["Discarded Heroes," January 18].
It's obscene that Denise Grollmus refers to U.S. troops as "heroes" when, in fact, they are invaders who deserve whatever the Iraqi resistance can throw at them. The only heroes in Iraq are those firing mortars and live rounds at U.S. troops and their quislings. And if there is any justice in the Middle East, the insurgency will win big time by smashing the U.S. military.
One more thing: If the U.S. government brazenly lies about why it attacks another country, do you really expect the politicians to honor their promises after the U.S. dupes and sadists come back?
Like, duh. Wake up, chumps.
How to give sex workers a bad name: I'm glad you're keeping after the Ohio politicians ["The Art of Whoring," February 1]. They certainly deserve it. But I wish you'd stop comparing them to prostitutes. That's an insult to sex workers.
Fool Me Twice
Outside the Dawg Pound, a funny smell: I had to laugh at the letter about why the Barons failed in Cleveland ["Call the Ringmaster," January 18]. He says folks in this burg won't support a loser, mediocrity sells no tickets, a classic name was co-opted, the colors are ugly, and everything costs too much.
How about those Cleveland Browns, eh? Woof! Woof!