LETTER- We just weren't mean

John Whitehead asserts [July 6 essay: "Police state: Has common sense taken leave?"] that a "culture of meanness" was placed upon Rich Collins when I had him arrested last year for campaigning at a shopping center I manage. Whitehead needs to get the facts straight.

First, I was called to the shopping center because customers were complaining they were being harassed while trying to do their grocery shopping. Once there, the Albemarle County Police and I pleaded for over an hour with Rich Collins to leave the (private) property. We explained there would be no arrest if he would simply leave.

Collins stated he wanted to be arrested as he felt an arrest would give him publicity for his political campaign. Neither the police nor I could have been any nicer in giving him the opportunity to avoid arrest.

This is all on tape as recorded by the Albemarle County Police Department. Further, the courts have now decided twice against Collins' claims that his civil rights have been violated.

If Whitehead feels there is a culture of meanness in this situation, he couldn't be more wrong. Look at the tape, and then send an apology to me and the others who were involved in this ridiculous incident.

Charles T. Lebo