Sustained Outrage

Here’s another look at stories we particularly admired this week.

In November 2010, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, a Marine platoon leader in Afghanistan, stepped on a land mine and was killed. Kelly’s death — one of 1,461 American soldiers who have lost their lives during Operation Enduring Freedom so far — made his father, Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, the highest ranking American officer to have lost a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan, as this devastating account in the Washington Post noted. Four days after his son’s death, Lt. Gen. Kelly delivered a powerful speech in St. Louis, in which he worried that the American public had largely forgotten the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing dangers faced by servicemen and women, and the immense sacrifices made by a relatively small number of families. Robert Kelly, who was promoted posthumously to 1st Lt., enlisted in 2003, and served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where he participated in the fierce urban fighting in Fallujah in 2004.

The city of Portland recently settled lawsuits filed by two men who were tasered by members of the Portland Police Bureau after they had surrendered for more than $138,000, the Oregonian reported. “In each incident, the men were on their knees with their hands locked behind, or on their heads when they were tased,” the article noted. Although officers involved in both incidents later admitted that they had violated the department’s policy regarding the use of tasers, none of the officers were disciplined.

A police department memo in Bell, Ca., the city whose top officials have been accused of looting the public coffers by paying themselves outrageous salaries, indicates that officers may have played a kind of baseball, where minor infractions counted as singles and a “felony arrest on an observation” was a home run, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bell residents have complained that the city was wrongly towing cars then charging exorbitant impounding fees to boost revenues, according to the article. “City records show Bell levied nearly $1 million in impound fees in fiscal year 2008-09 alone. Bell charged $300 for unlicensed motorists to retrieve their cars, triple what Los Angeles County and neighboring cities charge,” wrote Reuben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, whose Bell coverage recently earned the paper a prestigious Polk award.