It's probably the only way to have kept the franchise going, because the original Harry would have been tough sledding after a while, but there's no denying that power he had his first time out was something neither he nor any other movie cop ever had again. There's a couple of scenes that bring it home, one when he confronts the DA who refuses to prosecute Scorpio ("I'm all broken up about his rights," Harry says) and the other where Harry waits for Scorpio alone at the end, gun drawn, all business, while the rest of the law-enforcement community plays the game.
The film does try to show us that Harry's heart is in the right place, that while he doesn't mind being seen as a racist he really isn't one. After he blows away three bank robbers, all black, we get to see him being worked on by an African-American doctor who's an old friend. The scummy lead villain, and a great one as played by Andy Robinson, is a baby-faced white boy who doesn't like hippies any more than Harry (less, actually, since Harry isn't aiming a rifle at them).