Supporting our local police officers (and other first line responders) is something we believe in. We have, and have had, acquaintances on the York Police Department, past and present. Their dedication to worthy causes over the years, keeping our kids engaged in the spirit of community, and working hard on their behalf to keep York safe has been reassuring to us. Honestly, in today's environment, we cannot help but wonder how difficult it is to work in law enforcement.
Two years ago, we learned of Dr. Stephen Brennan's unfortunate encounter with officer Jonathan Rogers and heard what transpired for him thereafter. Dr. Brennan was a terrific pediatrician for our children, there from the get-go for all of them, from their births at York Hospital on up through their teenage years. I remember early days of motherhood, being overwhelmed, and he was there to say it was OK and hand over a tissue. I also recall the "Happy Birthday" song he sang at the kids' well-checkups, the assurances, diagnoses, incredible care given. He had a wonderful staff who cared equally as much. We were always grateful. We love Dr. Brennan.
Watching the appalling video recently released has been upsetting at the least and shocking in its brutality. The officer and his K-9 were aggressive from the start. Officer Rogers proclaimed to responding officers that Dr. Brennan came "charging" at him. Is that true?
The situation appeared to rapidly escalate into something horrific and potentially deadly ... for flashing high beams? Hindsight is 20/20. Getting out of his stopped vehicle may not have been the best idea for Dr. Brennan, but what ensued was a vicious attack after he was already on the ground.
We remain hopeful for positive change in police de-escalation tactics and progressive training opportunities. We wish Dr. Brennan the best as he moves forward.
— Joyce Lehan, York
Letter: Gut-wrenching York police traffic stop footage shows ego run amok
After watching the video of York Police officer Jonathan Rogers, who stopped Dr. Stephen Brennan for allegedly flashing his high beams, I felt a duty to respond as a parent and educator who resides in the town of York.
I recognize the danger our police officers face daily, and we’re fortunate to have so many professional and caring officers protecting our community. However, what I saw in this video footage was gut-wrenching. It clearly shows officer Rogers using an overabundance of force, after Dr. Brennen was on his knees with his hands up, surrendering. A man who made the mistake of leaving his vehicle during a traffic stop does not justify the abuse he suffered from a police K-9. It’s clear to me that Rogers was only protecting his ego by using this level of force and power, rather than protecting our town.
What concerns me most about this situation is the fact that this very well could have been a teenager. If officer Rogers is willing to use this kind of force on a 63-year-old man, what would he do to a teenager who makes a similar mistake in the heat of the moment? I am a teacher in another community and I have two young children of my own. I fear what would happen if an inexperienced driver made the slightest mistake in the presence of officer Rogers.
I have the utmost respect for the police, and I know children look up to police officers as people who will help and protect them. We’re fortunate to have an otherwise stellar police force in York to protect our community, but officer Rogers' actions, lack of reflection and lack of remorse suggest to me that he’s not a protector of our community’s safety but a threat to it.
— Stephanie Cleary, York
Letter: We are not enemies. We're fellow Americans
This Thursday, Jan. 20, marks the one-year anniversary since President Biden gave his inaugural address in which “Unity” was the central theme. It was a pretty good speech, in which he used the terms “unity,” “together,” and “as one” at least 19 times in 21 minutes. He told us that “We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature” and added “For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.” It all sounded great, but as happens more often than not, turned out to be empty political rhetoric.
Last week while stumping in Atlanta to pass his “voting rights” agenda, he bitterly shouted at those of us who oppose his bills and his new desire to eliminate the Senate filibuster, and labeled us all domestic enemies and racists, in the same mold as Jefferson Davis, Bull Connor and George Wallace (coincidentally all Democrats).
Somehow one of the most racist, prominent politicians of the last half century, who has authored numerous pieces of major legislation which have devastated minority communities, and whose list of racist comments would make even Archie Bunker blush, has been given a pass by his party and the legacy media, and now passes himself off as a crusader for racial justice.
Never mind that in 2020 the Democrats used the filibuster 327 times and Republicans only once. Suddenly now it has become a “Jim Crow relic” which has been “weaponized and abused.”
Mr. President, it’s time to listen to your own message; leave the filibuster alone!
Laws should be difficult to pass, and should require both sides of the aisle working together to get things done, not just the swaying of a couple of fringe members from either side; 75-80% of the American public favor voter I.D. requirements; please don’t change a longstanding Senate institution to pass something Americans don’t want, and stop labeling those of us who oppose your policies as racists.
We as Americans, together, are better than that.
— Charlie Black II, York
Complicated impacts: 1994 crime bill did not bring mass incarceration of Black Americans
Letter: I'm pro police, but out-of-control York officer and K-9 crossed the line.
I watched the newly released video footage of the York Police officer who stopped Dr. Stephen Brennan for allegedly flashing his high beams at him.
There is nobody on the Seacoast who is more pro-police than I am! But, this officer from York grossly overreacted, committed assault with a deadly weapon (the police K-9). He subjected this man whose hands were in the air and who was not a threat to this officer’s safety or that of the public to an assault.
The incident: York police release video of K-9 taking down pediatrician, 63, during traffic stop
This police officer was totally out of control, told fellow responding officers outright falsehoods about what Dr. Brennan did or did not do before their arrival. Further his K9 was not trained properly and basically ate up this man’s leg all the while being watched and praised by the York police officer.
For me, I used to love going to York for stores and restaurants all my life, but now I am going to avoid even driving anywhere near the borders of York, Maine so long as this officer is out on the streets. he police chief is as much at fault as his officer and any review board at a State Police level or Court would conclude the same thing I do.
The settlement: York pays pediatrician $325K following attack by police dog during minor traffic stop
Citizens and residents, you are at serious risk of bodily injury and false arrest should Officer Rogers place you in his crosshairs.
In my 58 years of life, I have always considered a police officer as a “friend” and someone whom you can trust and look up to. his is why I support my local police department always. Now that I have seen this dash cam footage for myself, there is absolutely no doubt I would be scared out of my wits to get close to York, Maine, with this overzealous police officer on the road with that dog that was not trained at all.
— T. Stephen McCarthy, Portsmouth, N.H.
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This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Letters: Appalled by York police K-9's brutal takedown of pediatrician