Editor: During the recent NAACP meeting in Leesburg, the issues of repugnant KKK fliers being distributed in Loudoun, concerns about inadequate law enforcement response, and the First Amendment were all raised. Lost in the shuffle was something that Leesburg Police Chief Gregory Brown said that I find absolutely chilling and repugnant as well.
He noted innocently that his officers had picked up many of the fliers from local driveways before homeowners even knew they had been distributed. What he failed to acknowledge was that this involved his officers entering onto private property without the property owner’s permission and removing printed material that the police found objectionable or inappropriate. While it seems commendable on the surface that the officers were removing potentially inflammatory, fear-inducing, and hate-spreading literature, it begs the question of whether I now need to be concerned about the Leesburg police “editing” my Sunday paper to remove articles they also find objectionable, or removing the Loudoun Now from my property because they think I might not care for a particular story.
Chief Brown needs to answer explicitly as to whether it is standing LPD policy for officers to enter private property without permission and remove items if they feel it is somehow in the public’s best interests. If so, I think we need more than the NAACP holding them accountable for their highly inappropriate actions. If not, he needs to apologize for their actions and acknowledge that they won’t be trespassing in a similar fashion in the future, regardless of their best intentions.
Chuck Shotton, Leesburg