Mayor Calls For Full Implementation of Police Reforms With AM-Taped Beating, Bjt
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A civilian commission’s finding of racism and brutality in the police force drew renewed calls for Police Chief Daryl Gates’ resignation from Mayor Tom Bradley and civil rights groups.
Some City Council members, who would have to approve some of the commission’s recommendations, gave Gates a vote of confidence. But others urged him to resign.
Gates, in a news conference Tuesday, said he wouldn’t resign anytime soon.
Bradley urged the City Council to quickly adopt all the panel’s proposed reforms. ″This is no time to tinker with the commission’s solutions,″ he said in a televised address.
One group, Citizens in Support of the Chief of Police, rallied to Gates’ defense, condemning the effort to replace the 64-year-old chief.
″We are outraged at the thinly veiled attempt to force Chief Gates out the back door,″ group president Peggy Rowe Estrada said.
Gates’ refusal to resign immediately drew criticism from some of his opponents.
″I think this is another example of arrogance that this chief has demonstrated,″ said Vibiana Andrade, spokeswoman for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Ramona Ripston, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, repeated the group’s earlier call for the chief’s resignation.
″It demonstrates a total failure of his leadership,″ Ripston said. ″It proves once and for all that the Rodney King incident was not an ‘aberration’ but occurred regularly under Gates’ command.″
Gates has called the March 3 videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King by white police officers an aberration. The tape was broadcast widely, causing an uproar in Los Angeles, prompting a review of the police department by an independent commission and focusing nationwide attention on the issue of police brutality.
King was pleased with the commission report, said his lawyer, Steve Lerman. ″But the physicality of his incident is something that weighs on his mind more than the political implications or the management of the LAPD,″ Lerman said. The 10-member commission, led by former Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, on Tuesday called for Gates to step down and recommended reshaping his job with a 10-year limit and more accountability.
″The blueprint is here, but now the mettle of this city is going to be tested - whether the elected officials and the residents at large will have the guts to implement these reforms,″ said John Mack, president of the Los Angeles Urban League.
Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said Gates should go. ″I think Chief Gates ought to recognize he’s done about as good a job he can do and from here on it may be more downhill, and it’s smart to take the exit path,″ he said.
Councilwoman Joy Picus said she was surprised by the commission’s finding of brutality.
Council President John Ferraro said he was concerned, but didn’t see the report as a call for Gates to resign. ″I see it as a call for a review,″ Ferraro said.
Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky also said he didn’t want Gates to resign.