Rev. Jackson Joins Call for Gates’ Ouster, Scolds Bradley : Protest: The civil rights activist tells demonstrators at police headquarters that the mayor should speak out “more clearly and decisively” on the King beating controversy.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson added his voice to those calling for Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates’ ouster Saturday, while at the same time urging Mayor Tom Bradley to speak out “more clearly and decisively” on the controversy surrounding the videotaped police beating of a black Altadena man.
Jackson addressed an anti-Gates rally attended by about 150 protesters outside police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. He was accompanied by U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), who exhorted the crowd to “keep the pressure on” Gates to resign.
“This is no aberration,” Jackson, speaking of the March 3 beating of Rodney G. King, told the crowd. “This is a history of behavior” fostered by past statements of Gates that have maligned blacks, Latinos and other minorities. “Mr. Gates must leave.”
Jackson said Bradley “must speak out more clearly and decisively, using his moral authority to rally people” against police brutality and head off the possibility of more violent protests.
Although the mayor has expressed outrage over the incident, he has sidestepped questions about whether Gates should resign.
The King beating has racial overtones because the 15 officers who were present during the beating are white. Four of the officers were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury last Thursday on charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon to unnecessarily beating a suspect under color of authority.
Federal charges also are being considered against some of the officers who watched the beating but apparently failed to intervene to stop it. White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Saturday that President Bush considers the videotaped beating “a pretty shocking thing” and that he supports an investigation initiated by the Justice Department.
Earlier Saturday, actor Alec Baldwin (seen recently in “The Hunt for Red October”) lent his voice to the protest against Gates that was held at police headquarters. He mingled with demonstrators from such groups as Veterans for Peace and the Socialist Workers Party while his roommate, actress Kim Basinger, watched the scene from a parked car.
“I’m here because I live a lot of the time in L. A. and I’m afraid,” Baldwin said. “I believe the cliche--next time it could be me.”
“I think Gates is bad for L.A. He’s got to go.”
Meanwhile, Peggy Rowe Estrada, estranged wife of Erik Estrada of the old “CHiPS” television series, said Saturday that she is helping to organize a pro-Gates citizens group. The group, which calls itself Citizens in Support of the Chief, is planning a support rally in front of the downtown police headquarters. No date for the rally has been set.
“I feel that (Gates) is a strong and honest leader,” Peggy Estrada said. “The blame should remain on the officers (involved in the beating) and not on the other 8,000 officers of the LAPD, or on the chief of police. I don’t think he ought to be taken down.”
In other developments, King’s physician, Dr. Edmund Chein, said Saturday that tests taken by doctors at County-USC Medical Center, where King was initially treated, showed that the Altadena man was not under the influence of PCP or alcohol at the time of his arrest. Early police statements said that King resisted arrest--which King has denied--and that his behavior suggested drug or alcohol abuse.
King is recuperating at an undisclosed hospital from surgery to repair broken cranial bones.
Times staff writers David Lauter and Tracy Wood contributed to this story.