Cop Doubt: Do the Family a Favor and Give It a Rest
Â Â Â Shame on you, New Times and Daniel Blackburn, for publishing the story about Grover Beach police Lt. Brian Thomas (â€œCop Out,â€? January 26) and pasting a photo of Brianâ€™s widow on the cover. Yes, Brian took his own life and yes, there were â€œallegationsâ€? (see dictionary for definition) against him. Is that not enough of a burden for his grieving family? No, you had to sling in the mud, convict him of a crime, and publicly demonize a man who was many things to many people.
Â Â Â Iâ€™m sure Brian had enemies (who doesnâ€™t?), but I know he had many friends too. If you had bothered to interview some of them, they would have told you what a caring and giving person Brian was. How his family was his pride and joy. How he earned numerous medals. How he donated his own time and money to the citizens of Grover Beach.
Â Â Â When Brian was laid to rest, it was meant to be a time of closure for his family and friends. Six days later you reopened the fresh wound and ground dirt into it. In addition to Blackburnâ€™s article being very one-sided, many of his â€œfactsâ€? were wrong, and quotes were taken out of context. The public has a right to the whole truth, the good with the bad. But the defendant is dead, so why donâ€™t you too give it a rest?
Cop Doubt: So Your Compassion Is for Friends Only?
Â Â Â I must protest New Timesâ€™s savage rip of the late police officer Brian Thomas. After being lambasted for criticizing Steve Moss, who died last April, it appears to me that â€œcompassionâ€? is only for those favored by New Times. I am highly offended not only by the assault on the late Lieutenant Thomas, but also by those who attacked me for my April 2005 letter. Who are they to thump me while winking at this latest rip?
Â Â Â With so much disrespect for police, even by law-abiding people, what is New Times trying to prove? Last summer I promised not to criticize recently deceased people â€” a promise Iâ€™ve kept. What, then, are we to think of â€œCop Outâ€?? As one of my critics said, â€œHave some compassion, guys.â€?
San Luis Obispo
Cop Doubt: Porn Stole His Soul
Â Â Â Daniel Blackburn, you should be ashamed. Brian Thomas is gone, but you just had to take one more parting shot. Did Brian commit some terrible crimes? Probably. Would he have gone to prison? Most likely. But your article â€œCop Outâ€? wasnâ€™t just a chance to kick a good cop who lost his soul to pornography, it was your opportunity to rub his familyâ€™s and his co-workersâ€™ noses in Brianâ€™s disgrace. One more dig at law enforcement from a liberal rag.
Â Â Â Lieutenant Thomas handled some tough investigations that led to the convictions of some dangerous people. He did a lot of good. That doesnâ€™t negate his mistakes, but please, give his family and friends a break. Why donâ€™t you do some real investigative journalism on how pornography destroys lives and families? I challenge you to do the research and find out it is a powerful addiction that twists a manâ€™s mind into acting out the sick fantasies depicted in that crap, which is protected under the First Amendment.
Cop Doubt: Just Suppose for a Moment It Was Your Family
Â Â Â I wonder how Daniel Blackburn might feel if the tables were turned, and instead of Officer Thomas it was his father, son, brother, or friend being attacked in a New Times cover story. What would Mr. Blackburn do differently if this were about someone he loved? Would he, I wonder, write the same exact article if it were his own children who were going to suffer as a result? If the same allegations were being made toward his father, would he make sure it became front-page news?
Â Â Â If this were about his own father, brother, or friend, would he find it necessary to report every single sordid detail? Would he, I wonder, choose the same graphic, personal photo for the cover? If his loved one, rather than Officer Thomas, had been the focus of this front-page attack â€” oops, I mean article â€” would he be proud he had written it?
Â Cop Doubt: Now a Local Version of the National Enquirer
Â Â Â I would like to start off by saying that Brian Thomas was a friend and a hero to many people â€” despite what the media has said about him. He has been wrongly prosecuted and judged. The last time I checked, we are innocent until proven guilty. Brian was never able to defend himself against the accusations made against him. Now former colleagues speak up when Brian cannot defend himself. If he was such a bad person, why didnâ€™t his colleagues speak up sooner?
Â Â Â The media have trashed his name, and they donâ€™t even know him. I am sorry they have no regard for his family members, who are already grieving a terrible death, and then are forced to deal with the trash that has been printed in your news coverage. Did you have no regard for the fact that his children have to go to school and endure ridicule from others?
Â Â Â I have always loved living in this area, but I am ashamed that the media are now nothing but a cheap local version of the National Enquirer. It is easy for you to write terrible things and send them off to the public, but did you honestly take into consideration his wife and children? I have been very angered by the choice you made to print nothing but trash.
Â Â Â Brian was a great person and did a lot for his community and his family. He deserves to have his family remember him as nothing less than a great officer and father. I feel the media have taken this away from his family and friends. Now theyâ€™ll have a long-term memory of the ridicule and trash; the media took it into their own hands to decide how Brian should be remembered. I wonder if you will even print the letters youâ€™ve received in his defense. I doubt it, because they would only make you look bad. But of course you didnâ€™t care how bad you made Brian look.
Â Â Â I will miss him, and in spite of the crap you have printed, I will always remember all he has done for me and my family. I will stand by and do what I can to support his wife and children. The only thing that will help them now is time â€” and the hope that the media will back off and stop printing ugly and unjust things about Brian.
Â Â Â I would also like to say that putting a picture of his wife and son on the cover of New Times was low class, a terrible choice. So too was printing pictures that were taken inside a church, which is supposed to be a sacred place. I guess God will have to be the judge of that. I hope you have some sleepless nights because of the injustice you have done to Brianâ€™s family. Shame on you and your bad choice to print such a story, which had no positive aspects to it. It had only negative influences and caused more pain.
Â Â Â I am sorry for the people who didnâ€™t get to know Brian. I will always remember him as a friend, a great police officer, and someone who was always there for anyone who needed a friend. He has brought happiness and joy to many people. Bad publicity cannot ever take that away. Please let him rest in peace. And please give his family a chance to move on with their lives.
Cop Doubt: If It Looks Like the Enquirer and Reads Like the Enquirer...
Â Â Â Regarding Daniel Blackburnâ€™s â€œCop Out,â€? when I picked it up, I had to double-check the cover, thinking I had grabbed a copy of the National Enquirer instead of New Times. Tell us the news, but how dare you smear the photos of a grieving family across your cover. Shame on you.
Cop Doubt: Questions Brian Thomas Didnâ€™t Get to Answer
Â Â Â Iâ€™d like to know why Daniel Blackburnâ€™s story about Brian Thomas was so far off from what people at his funeral said about him as a police officer. It seems like you were just hurting his family.
Â Â Â Officer Thomas is not here to defend himself and answer questions: Was he a good cop? Was he a family man? Or was he a troubled man caught up in sexual problems? Was he a man in need of help? Are there going to be more victims coming out against him? Or were the allegations fabricated? Was he ashamed to lose his respect and his family?
Cop Doubt: First Do No (Ethical) Harm
Â Â Â Regarding the article on Lt. Brian Thomas: As you review your criteria before writing and publishing an article, particularly one with intrusive photos, we would strongly urge you to first consider the ethics of what harm may be done by a story versus what is newsworthy.
Â Â Â As representatives of an organization that works with grieving families every day, itâ€™s our belief that the first priority of a compassionate community â€” including our media community â€” should be consideration for the emotional well-being of surviving family members and friends.
chief clinical supervisor
Hospice of San Luis Obispo County
Cop Clout: Do You Smell What I Smell?
Â Â Â Brian Thomasâ€™s fellow officers knew he was psycho, yet they went along for the ride. Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey thought he was a great guy and family man. The DA drops charges against him. (Because he was a cop?) The DA and the police work together very closely, yet neither knew he was bad?
Â Something smells bad here â€” and not just in Grover Beach.
Cop Clout: Sometimes Itâ€™s Best to Keep Your Mouth Shut
Â Â Daniel Blackburnâ€™s â€œCop Outâ€? was nicely done, but now my feelings are that I could lose trust in all cops, especially the ones from Grover Beach. Letâ€™s hope the rest of SLO Countyâ€™s police officers are not like Brian Thomas.
Â Â Iâ€™ve never heard anyone say anything bad at a funeral about someone who has died. However, Chief Jim Copsey and former Chief John Bradbury certainly didnâ€™t have to praise Thomas. They could have just shut their big mouths.
Cop Clout: Somewhere, Sometime the Truth Shall Out
Â Â Â Great job by New Times and Daniel Blackburn with the cover story â€œCop Out.â€? Someone is telling the truth. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Cop Clout: Ugly, Unfortunate, and Essential
Â Â Â The story of Brian Thomas was ugly and unfortunate, but it was one that needed to be told. Daniel Blackburn did it well.
San Luis Obispo