View Full Version : Daryl Gates, Man of honor or villain?

04-18-2010, 05:46 AM
Shocking, according to the la times, he was a disaster.


And yet for all that acid and bile spraying from every section of the la times about Gates, I remember a visit he paid not too long ago to honor a swat member who died in the line of duty.

Mayor Villaraigosa was there, as was Chief Bratton, the audience a sea of lapd officers. When Bratton mentioned Gates, unlike the other men before him, there was a deafening standing ovation and show of respect from the officers.


Why such a disconnect?

Not just white officers, plenty of black officers lauded him and respected him and his efforts, why such discontinuity?

I was just a kid during the whole Rodney King events and la riots, so my memory is murky and have little to no memories of Gates tenure. But with such discordant views of the man, something has to be off. So who is more correct, the likes of la times and the ACLU, or current and former officers who served under him, of all colors?

I suspect the officers opinion on the matter will not weigh heavily here, but explain why.

04-18-2010, 04:04 PM

I lived in LA for the last few years of his tenure as chief, and I was friendly with a cop who had nothing but praise for him, and she insisted that feeling was nearly unanimous among the rank and file.

On the other hand, it seemed to me at the time that nearly everyone in LA who was not a cop thought that a big problem with the LA cops is that they had, even more so than cops elsewhere, a real us-vs-them mentality, and that seemed especially pronounced among everyone I knew who wasn't white.

I think that goes some way to explaining the disconnect you asked about. I never had strong feelings about him one way or the other. I do remember having a visceral aversion to him the times I saw him on TV, but I also do not have a strong sense that one should feel like a police chief is cuddly.

I did feel at the time that he had mismanaged the Rodney King riots about as badly as it was possible to do, and I had the sense that his attitude when they began was, "As long as it doesn't spread, let Those People burn down their neighborhoods and shoot each other for all I care." I'd acknowledge that may be unfair, but I wouldn't say it was uninformed -- as you can imagine, I followed those events and their aftermath very closely.

04-18-2010, 06:59 PM
Shocking, according to the la times, he was a disaster. So who is more correct, the likes of la times and the ACLU, or current and former officers who served under him, of all colors?

I realize that you trying to set this question up to be a no-brainer, but I think you are missing something important here: police officers serve the public. So, the question should be: what did the people of LA make of him - not what did his fellow police make of him. We dont judge the Bush administration, for example, based on what people who worked in the white house - or even what people who serve in the military - thought of it. We have to look at the "big picture."

uncle ebeneezer
04-19-2010, 12:56 AM
I generally take the opinions of fellow service men and women (police, firefighters, armed forces) with a bit of a grain of salt. There is a core of fellowship that is built into the job due to the life and death gravity of possible that results in a band-of-brothers atmosphere that probably lowers the likelihood of people bad-mouthing their peers. I would be interesting in seeing studies of this sort on the emotional aspects of people in one group with very strong "brotherhood" (military, police etc.) vs. a group with much less of that (regular office workers etc.) in how they answer when asked about their peers. And also, I think BJ and Nikki are right in that as public servants the question ultimately lies in the hands of those they were commissioned to serve and protect. Personally, I don't have any strong feelings about Gates. I wasn't out here yet when he was in charge.

04-19-2010, 01:34 AM
I would rephrase that "mere fool or sociopath"?

Or as the LA Times quite charitably put it, "Gates was a hidebound, egomaniacal figure who was so wrong for the job at the time he served in it that he nearly destroyed the city he was charged with protecting."

He was the Dick Cheney of the LAPD.