As was reported by your papers and widely elsewhere, the widow of Cpl. Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office called upon his alleged killer, John D. Williams, to surrender peacefully to law enforcement, pledging that Williams would be treated with “dignity and respect.”

I’m not sure that the published police photograph lives up to the widow’s pledge. It shows Williams, mostly naked, lying in the mud with his head pulled back by an arresting officer who was gripping his hair.

The excuse – that the suspect was resisting having his photograph taken to confirm his identity – is rather flimsy, as there are many other photographs of him being led away showing his identifying tattoos, full face and torso. The police photo simply resembles all too much the images of hunters posing with their dead prey, lifeless heads pulled back to show the face.

Understandably, all of us, including law enforcement, are angry at the death of Cpl. Cole. Yet using the dead officer’s handcuffs, which had to be premeditated, and posing the suspect in an undignified manner certainly shows that the police team did not follow the wishes of their comrade’s widow in treating John D. Williams (no relation to me) with the dignity and respect that Cole would have wanted. It seems revengeful and sad that professionals would act in this way.

Irving Williams

South Portland

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