The question of Harvey Dent

With the entry of Harvey Dent into the campaign for District Attorney, Gotham is now faced with a tantalizing prospect — that of a legal apparatus tenacious enough to take on the crime and corruption facing the city.

Yet to be determined is whether Dent's crusade against police corruption is the act of a man genuinely committed to ridding the city of mob influence or simply a political circus designed to further his own political ends.

Certainly Gotham needs a public official with the backbone to attack organized crime's tentacles and the competence to win convictions. Too many attempts to take on the mob in Gotham have fallen victim to turf battles, dead witnesses, and mysterious last-minute decisions to drop cases.

Dent's crusade against police corruption has scored impressive victories — but also raises questions. His single-minded pursuit of Sergeant Daniel Selverian for taking bribes dominated Gotham politics during the month of August. But the jury ended up acquitting Mr. Selverian, and the judge attacked Dent for "prosecutorial overreaching."

This lost case does not overshadow the many other cases Dent has won. Police corruption is an important issue. But by concentrating so much on police corruption, Dent opens himself up to charges that he is targeting the most politically explosive area instead of the area that could most easily translate into safer Gotham streets. Where are the prosecutions of mobsters? Why is he afraid to go after them?

It is simply too early to determine Dent's true face. The Gotham Times will continue to watch this public official closely, and continue to hope, along with all of Gotham, that Dent is the real thing.