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Cop Doubt: Do the Family a Favor and Give It a Rest
    Shame on you, New Times and Daniel Blackburn, for publishing the story about Grover Beach police Lt. Brian Thomas (“Cop Out,� January 26) and pasting a photo of Brian’s widow on the cover. Yes, Brian took his own life and yes, there were “allegations� (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.

    I’m sure Brian had enemies (who doesn’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.

    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 Blackburn’s article being very one-sided, many of his “facts� 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 don’t you too give it a rest?

Kerry Nechodom
Grover Beach

Cop Doubt: So Your Compassion Is for Friends Only?
    I must protest New Times’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 “compassion� 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?

    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 — a promise I’ve kept. What, then, are we to think of “Cop Out�? As one of my critics said, “Have some compassion, guys.�

Steve Kobara
San Luis Obispo

Cop Doubt: Porn Stole His Soul
    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 “Cop Out� wasn’t just a chance to kick a good cop who lost his soul to pornography, it was your opportunity to rub his family’s and his co-workers’ noses in Brian’s disgrace. One more dig at law enforcement from a liberal rag.

    Lieutenant Thomas handled some tough investigations that led to the convictions of some dangerous people. He did a lot of good. That doesn’t negate his mistakes, but please, give his family and friends a break. Why don’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 man’s mind into acting out the sick fantasies depicted in that crap, which is protected under the First Amendment.

Jeff Rigby

Cop Doubt: Just Suppose for a Moment It Was Your Family
    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?

    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 — oops, I mean article — would he be proud he had written it?

Jill Tappan
Grover Beach

 Cop Doubt: Now a Local Version of the National Enquirer
    I would like to start off by saying that Brian Thomas was a friend and a hero to many people — 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 didn’t his colleagues speak up sooner?

    The media have trashed his name, and they don’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?

    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.

    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 they’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 you’ve received in his defense. I doubt it, because they would only make you look bad. But of course you didn’t care how bad you made Brian look.

    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 — and the hope that the media will back off and stop printing ugly and unjust things about Brian.

    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 Brian’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.

    I am sorry for the people who didn’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.

Jennifer Woods
Grover Beach

Cop Doubt: If It Looks Like the Enquirer and Reads Like the Enquirer...
    Regarding Daniel Blackburn’s “Cop Out,� 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.

Suzanne Martin
Los Osos

Cop Doubt: Questions Brian Thomas Didn’t Get to Answer
    I’d like to know why Daniel Blackburn’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.

    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?

Larry Miller

Cop Doubt: First Do No (Ethical) Harm
    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.

    As representatives of an organization that works with grieving families every day, it’s our belief that the first priority of a compassionate community — including our media community — should be consideration for the emotional well-being of surviving family members and friends.

Donna Kean,
executive director

Mary Kunz,
chief clinical supervisor
Hospice of San Luis Obispo County

Cop Clout: Do You Smell What I Smell?
    Brian Thomas’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?
 Something smells bad here — and not just in Grover Beach.

John McBride
Grover Beach

Cop Clout: Sometimes It’s Best to Keep Your Mouth Shut
   Daniel Blackburn’s “Cop Out� was nicely done, but now my feelings are that I could lose trust in all cops, especially the ones from Grover Beach. Let’s hope the rest of SLO County’s police officers are not like Brian Thomas.

   I’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 didn’t have to praise Thomas. They could have just shut their big mouths.

Dorothy Gardner
Arroyo Grande

Cop Clout: Somewhere, Sometime the Truth Shall Out
    Great job by New Times and Daniel Blackburn with the cover story “Cop Out.� Someone is telling the truth. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Jay Hudson
Arroyo Grande

Cop Clout: Ugly, Unfortunate, and Essential
    The story of Brian Thomas was ugly and unfortunate, but it was one that needed to be told. Daniel Blackburn did it well.

Pete Dunan
San Luis Obispo

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