L.A.'s Gates to quit - in April
Haya El Nasser;Jonathan T. Lovitt
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
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
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
``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