Friday, April 16, 2010

Daryl Gates, 1926-2010. R.I.P.

Daryl Gates, who served as the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978 to 1992, died today of bladder cancer. He was 83.

Gates became an international figure in April 1992 during the Los Angeles riots which followed the acquittal of the four LAPD officers caught assaulting Rodney King on tape. He would retire as police chief later that year.

During his time at the helm of the LAPD, Gates became an early supporter of the use of SWAT teams and would also pioneer the anti-drug educational program D.A.R.E. but those achievements were overshadowed by his response to the riots as well as his penchant to shoot from the hip which led to charges of racism.

Gates relationship with L.A.'s African-American community deteriorated in 1982 while ironically enough explaining why the LAPD had done away with a chokehold. He said that the arteries of black people "do not open up as fast as on normal people". In an interview Gates did with The L.A. Times in May 2009 he stated the fallout from that incident "really hurt".

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