We wish to commend The Times for the editorials and articles that have helped to illuminate the complex and sensitive issues affecting the LAPD.
As members of organized labor, as activists of minority group organizations, as long-time civil rights advocates and as citizens we have had frequent occasion to observe and have direct contact with the police of the city of Los Angeles.
With so many policemen involved in or present at the violent and revolting beating of Rodney King, it is difficult to escape the impression that they were a fairly representative cross-section of at least a segment of the department. This is indeed disturbing! Nothing can lead to dissolution of civil order more quickly than law-breaking under color of police authority.
We deeply respect the individual who enters the police force out of dedication to community service, and we know that most police officers are honest.
We believe the department must be suffused by a sense of the inviolability of the rights of every citizen. The individual policeman must be imbued with an appreciation of human rights and must cultivate a sensitivity for cultural, ethnic, racial and gender differences and diversity.
Achieving this is a responsibility of the department’s leadership, and first of all of the chief. Gates has fallen short in this role and should step down.
KENT WONG, Chairman, Alliance of Asian Pacific Labor
ALEX SWEETEN, President, A. Philip Randolph Institute
AL HERNANDEZ, President, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
MAX MONT, Regional Director, Jewish Labor Committee, Los Angeles