Dear Editor,

I recently read about how the Middletown Township Police Department paid a $300,000 out-of-court settlement to an African-American officer who been had allegedly been the victim of racially-motivated harassment (including the use of derogatory racist slurs) by Chief Robert Oches and Range Master James Griffin.

As a Latino Community activist and the son of immigrants, I am very shocked and concerned to learn that this kind of unacceptable conduct is taking place in our communities, especially when the perpetrators of such hate are high-ranking police officials that have been put into a position of trust and are expected treat everyone in the community with fairness and respect.

If the culture of racism is so prevalent in the Middletown Township Police Department to the point that even their own fellow officers are being victimized it scares me to think of how an ordinary, law-abiding citizen who is African-American – or Hispanic  (like myself) may be abused during a police encounter with their department.

Chief Oches and Range Master Griffin must be immediately terminated from their employment and forfeit their pensions for their outrageous racist conduct and the entire department must to be required to undergo diversity training and an independent civilian monitoring board must be established to oversee the department to ensure the ugly head of racism is no longer to allowed to rear its head in Middletown.

Martin Luther King, Jr once said, "I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character". As long as Chief Robert Oches and Range Master James Griffin are still on the public payroll, that day has not yet come in Middletown Township.

Our men in blue cannot be allowed to wear white hoods.

Sincerely,

George Mota Jr.

Long Branch, New Jersey