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An Anonymous Letter Of Complaint Against The Alexandria Police Department I received this e-mail today from a source who asked me to protect his anonymity. I have confirmed the veracity of his identity. However, I caution that it is impossible for me, at this juncture, to confirm the veracity of his claims. If there is reason to believe that this letter is fictional, then I invite readers to question its claims. Dear Lamar, I've been having a hard time tracking down the e-mail address of the chief of police for Alexandria, so I hope that you will post this as an open letter to the citizens of Alexandria.... (edited for personal content) Yesterday evening, while at friend's house and walking toward my vehicle to retrieve a CD, three armed police officers surrounded me and told me to put my hands on the hood of one of their police cars. This occurred late at night around Charles Park, near the Citgo gas station, formerly known as the Gate. As a resident of Charles Park, I have noticed throughout the past six years, police officers tend to congregate at the Gate during the late evening and early morning hours. I don't exactly understand why the APD chooses to dispatch several police officers at this location, considering the bulk of crime in Alexandria occurs in other areas. However, the officers told me they were investigating a string of petty thefts that had recently occurred in this neighborhood. After I placed my hands on the hood of a police car, they asked me what I was doing. I told them that I was just checking on my vehicle and fetching a CD. Then, they asked me if they could search my pockets, and I consented. I had nothing to hide. They frisked me, searched my pockets, and then asked if they could search my vehicle. I asked why this was necessary. Without an answer, they continued asking if they could search. I told them politely that there was no reason to search. They then threatened to "bring out the K-9 unit... which could take forever." Again, I had nothing to hide and allowed them to search my vehicle. After searching my car, they asked me who I was visiting. I told them my friend's name. Then, they walked over to my friend's place, knocked on the door, and asked my friend whether or not he "knew" who I was, all while holding my ID in his hand. My friend, of course, confirmed I was there and was due back. Afterward, they walked back over to me and explained that they usually worked on the "other side of town" and were used to doing things "that way." They told me that if I had been on the other side of town, I would have been "beaten by now." I believe this was supposed to be a joke. To me, this entire incident really proves what's wrong about the way the Alexandria Police Department enforces the law. First, they harassed a citizen who was merely walking toward his vehicle; I was not inebriated, and like I said, I had nothing to hide so I consented. Then, they asked to search my vehicle. I'm not sure what searchable offense occured, but still, I consented. To top it all off, they involved my friend in this whole fiasco, flashing flashlights into his windows and interrogating him about who I was. The whole incident really makes me glad I wasn't "on the other side of town." Who knows what they would have done? Let me also state that there I have no intentions whatsoever of pressing any charges. I consented voluntarily to what they demanded, and I respected their authority. I understand that crime is a problem in Alexandria, and I think it is important that our police officers enforce the law....but if my experience proves anything, it is that the method that was used on me wasn't appropriate or necessary... and bordered on harassment.