Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell said Tuesday that he has asked the Police Commission to review Police Chief Daryl Gates' statement last week that casual drug users "ought to be taken out and shot."
"We've got to call him on that," Farrell said. "This is where we get to the question of who really runs the Police Department."
Farrell said the commission, a five-member civilian board appointed by the mayor, has ultimate authority over the department and should take a stand on the matter.
Gates first made the statement last Wednesday at a Senate hearing in Washington and reaffirmed it two days later when questioned by reporters in Los Angeles. "Yeah! I mean it," Gates said.
Farrell's is the first official request that Gates be called to task for the remarks. Mayor Tom Bradley refused to comment on the controversy last week and has left for a three-week trip to Europe.
In a letter to the Police Commission, Farrell said: "The words are shocking, the thoughts behind them are troublesome."
Gates' statement may encourage police officers to "push the limits of their authority," Farrell said in the letter.
However, Farrell added that he believes Gates is "an able administrator" who warrants "praise and commendation."
"But Chief Gates should be called to task for his recent statements," Farrell wrote. "If the chief of police can say . . . casual drug users should be shot to death, then any police officer on the force can make similar statements. That is wrong."
Attempts to reach Police Commission members late Tuesday were unsuccessful.