Friday, April 16, 2010

LA police chief dies to cheers and laughs

(WQ) Los Angeles has long suffered from too few officers to effectively police a city of its size. Police chief Daryl F. Gates reacted by tactics referred to as the "hammer." Diverse racial communities were put under the gun, deprived of civil rights, and terrorized in the name of disproportionate force and retaliation.

Why does it matter to the world? Gates perpetuated a culture of police abuse inherited by Chief Bratton, who recently left the LAPD to work for a global security firm advising governments. Expect LAPD-style abuse.

Imagine a small group of colonial invaders sitting in a fort shooting Indians out of fear then calling those abuses of power "heroic" -- and there you have the work of the LAPD under Gates. The chief became an infamous failure and was subsequently driven out of office after the 1992 LA riots.

The cause of the riot (the Rodney King beating and torture by a large group of police officers) was the culture of abuse overseen by Gates. Beatings like this were not uncommon, except in the fact that this one was filmed. But Rodney King is a remarkable example of how much police fear, hate, and therefore abuse minorities.

Those riots cost the city more than a billion dollars and were inflamed by a stunning lack of police response at the flash point, the corner of Normandie and Western. Gates was apparently afraid his officers might get hurt if people were rising up -- and why squelch something if you can institute Marshall law and police state methods after the fact instead? Called a neo-Nazi, undoubtedly a racially-insensitive authoritarian, he died an excruciating death from bladder cancer overnight in his home in Newport Beach at age 83.

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