Opinion » Letters

Vestal case was a real tragedy


I didn’t know Jay Vestal. I just know what I have read and heard in the news. Would I have been afraid of him had I had a chance to meet him? I don’t know.

It was stated in the media he used drugs. Turns out he had somewhat of a history with law enforcement. Was he addicted to drugs and alcohol? I don’t know. Here’s what I do know: I have wept for him and his family. I wept again when I saw the pictures you printed of him in your recent piece about the settlement (“County settles wrongful-death lawsuit,� Dec. 9-16). I cried again as I read the description of how he died — his hands cuffed behind his back, his face down in the dirt. He was struggling. Was he struggling so he could get up and shoot all those policemen? No. He was struggling because he couldn’t breathe. He didn’t deserve to die like that.

I am not anti-cop. I am grateful for the fact should I need help it is only a 911 call away. But I don’t understand why the police never expressed one word of sympathy or regret for this tragedy. It was all Jay Vestal’s fault, I guess. Throw some money at his family and move on. It’s more than they would have gotten if he had lived.

It is sad. It is just so terribly sad to me.

B. Smith


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