Report is talk of the town

  Sally Ann Stewart;Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1991)


  LOS ANGELES - Shock waves from a report card on the nation's second- largest

  police force rippled across this city Wednesday.


  A day after the Christopher Commission released its 228-page report criticizing

  the LAPD, people flooded radio talk shows with calls.


  ``I watched police arresting a guy outside our store,'' said optician Dallas

  Hopkins. ``They saw me watching, too. And I think they held back.''


  At City Hall, seven of 14 Council members said Chief Daryl Gates should retire.

  Minority and civil-rights groups held press conferences to talk about the LAPD's

  ``siege mentality.'' The commission released an 83-page addendum listing

  hundreds of computer messages sent by on-duty cops to fellow officers.



  - ``Did you arrest the 85-yr old lady or just beat her up.''


  - ``Nothing but wetbacks no speaky English and ugly.''


  - ``My shooting policy is based on nationality and looks.''


  Residents of predominantly black and Hispanic south central Los Angeles were

  relieved, even proud, that the commission had validated minority complaints of

  the LAPD's racism, sexism and brutality.


  But, warned 17-year-old Stephan Thompson, a camera salesman, ``If they don't

  get rid of Gates, there's going to be more lawsuits.'' Thompson says he was

  walking to the corner store last month when a cop in the middle of busting a

  crack house tackled him.


  ``It used to be that you could ask a policeman directions,'' says church deacon

  John Eugene, 59. ``Now, if you approach them, the first thing they do is reach

  for their gun.''


  Police union president George Aliano said he's been swamped with police calling

  for copies of the report. Many were shaken by its contents.


  ``It hasn't made my job any easier,'' said Officer Suzy Regan. But like most

  officers, she was standing by the chief. ``Gates should stay as long as he likes.''


  Detective Mike Brox applauded release of the computer transcripts. ``Some of

  the things that I've seen over the computers are appalling.''


  Said American Civil Liberties volunteer Danny Goldberg: ``As painful as this is

  for L.A., I think that in the future, this will be seen as a historic turning point.

  All of a sudden, this is no longer just minorities. This is a consensus.''


  CUTLINE:RESIDENT: John Eugene, 59, says once `you could ask a policeman

  directions. Now, the first thing they do is reach for their gun.'

  PHOTO;b/w,Bob Riha Jr.,Gamma Liaison