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On January 25, 2002, I committed an assault with a fire arm on Santa Monica Police officers Richard Lewis, Scott Matsuda, and Danny Smart. For my actions, I was sentenced to 34 years in state prison. For years, I have sought a way to express my remorse to the officers for my crime against them.

Prisoner Expresses Regret

Steve's Story—Steve Grant

As state law prohibits me from directly contacting them, I have decided to post this public apology as an acknowledgment of my wrongs against both the officers and the community-at-large.

To Officers Richard Lewis, Scott Matsuda, and Danny Smart:

This letter is intended to express my sincerest apology for all of the danger and suffering that my actions put you and your families through. No amount of words can adequately convey my regret and sorrow for how my crime has affected you, your family, friends, colleagues, and the community of Santa Monica as a whole.

I was a clueless and impulsive teenager who wanted desperately to fit in with the wrong crowds and knew nothing (and didn’t care to know anything) about life. I blatantly disregarded all notions of right and wrong and failed to foresee the consequences of my actions.

I will not attempt to waste your time with “woe-is-me” sob stories about how I wasn’t loved as a child, or about how “poverty made me do it.” Such excuses neither justify my actions nor are they true. The fact is, I acted out of self-centered foolishness. For that reason, I do not seek your sympathy or your forgiveness. The goal is to acknowledge my offense against you (both as officers of the law and as people) and to express my commitment to living a productive, law-abiding life.

For what it’s worth, I am ashamed of what I’ve done. Every day since my crime, I have tried to understand what really motivated me to grab a gun and shoot in your direction. After much reflection and self-examination, I have realized that my desire to fit in with a peer group, my enormous need for acceptance due to feelings of isolation and low self-esteem, and my willingness to receive such acceptance from the worse segments of society all helped shape my thinking. Back then, everything I did and every thought I had was a result of influences in my life and of the beliefs that I chose to adopt.

My family did not raise me to be a criminal. At a young age, I chose to become a criminal. And now I have chosen not to be one.

My family did not raise me to be a criminal. At a young age, I chose to become a criminal. And now I have chosen not to be one.

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Today I live my life, trying to amend for my many faults. I try to make up for what I have done to you as well as to my own family and to everyone in the community who have suffered because of my past actions. To demonstrate my commitment to change, I have dedicated myself to ministering to others by working to help at-risk youth (like my former self) to turn away from drugs, gangs, and crime. In addition, I am an active participant in the Victims’ Awareness Offenders’ Program which draws attention to the impact of crime through the concept of Restorative Justice.

I understand that my current activities will not erase the past. No amount of good deeds and change-talk will change the fact that my actions were dangerous and reckless and caused you and your families harm. If, after reading this, you are still skeptical about my sincerity, please know that my commitment to change myself for the better will remain constant.

I will live every day with the intention of being responsible and productive and encouraging others to do the same. Regardless of whether I am ever released from prison, my obligation to you, my community, and my family is to contribute in a positive way--even if society does not change.

Never for one second have I questioned whether I deserved to go to prison for what I did. I deserved to go to prison as much as you deserve this apology.

I get it now. I have accepted and continue to accept responsibility for my crime. My hope is to communicate my genuine feelings of remorse to each of you.

From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.

Sincerely yours,

Anthony A. Ferguson