L.A.'s Gates to quit - in April

  Haya El Nasser;Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1991)


  LOS ANGELES - Embattled Police Chief Daryl Gates said Monday he's finally

  ready to turn in his badge - but not until April.


  ``Maybe that'll stop all of the nonsense that's been going on. Maybe we can get

  back to work,'' Gates said, choking back tears in a videotaped message to his



  Gates, who'll be 65 next month, said he'll retire in nine months, but made it clear

  he will stay longer if a successor is not named by then.


  Gates said his officers remain loyal to him: ``The majority won't see me as a

  lame duck.''


  By setting a retirement date, Gates said in a letter to the City Council, he hopes

  the ``increasing confusion generated over the issue of my continued tenure'' will



  It won't. His critics, who have been clamoring for his resignation since the March

  3 beating of a black motorist by the LAPD are not thrilled.


  ``That's not good enough for me,'' said Jose De Sosa, of the NAACP. ``Aug. 1

  should be the date that he's removed. ... It needs to be done to bring back sanity

  to the city.''


  Said Ramona Ripston of the American Civil Liberties Union: ``We hope April

  1992 is an outside date and he'll have the grace to step down sooner if a

  successor is named.''


  Mayor Tom Bradley, unabashedly gleeful over Gates' announcement, said the

  city should have no problem finding a replacement by April.


  Gates' move throws the ball directly in City Council's court.


  The Christopher Commission - the independent panel that found rampant racism

  and brutality in the police department and called for new leadership -

  recommended some changes that need voter approval. Among them: a 10-year

  term limit for the police chief and giving the mayor more say in choosing a chief.


  Currently, the police chief has virtual lifetime tenure; Gates has been chief 13



  Gates said he'll abstain from taking a stand on the proposals until the voters have

  their say.


  And Councilman Joel Wachs said issues that could affect the nationwide search

  for Gates' replacement should be put to the voters in a special election this year -

  a costly move.


  ``It's a small price to pay to bring peace to the city,'' he said.


  But police officers were more concerned with bringing peace to the department

  and silencing the critics.


  ``The morale here has hit rock bottom,'' said Sgt. Ruben Whittington of the

  Hollywood Division.


  ``The Christopher Commission has pointed out that about 100 officers are

  creating all the problems. Unfortunately they reflect on the other 8,000 officers

  who are doing a good job.''


  EAR CUTLINE:GATES: Holds back tears on videotape. CUTLINE:GATES:

  Police chief appears before a City Council committee on Monday

  CUTLINE:RODNEY KING: His beating set off storm CUTLINE

  FIRST:RODNEY KING: Beating set off calls for Gates' resignation. CUTLINE

  FIRST:GATES: Hopes to end tension in Los Angeles and `get back to work' with

  announcement of planned resignation.

  EAR PHOTO;color, USA TODAY ;PHOTO;b/w,Mark J.

  Terrill,AP;PHOTO;b/w,Craig Fujii,AP;PHOTO FIRST;b/w,AP