Text of Mayor’s Statement
Today I met with Police Chief Daryl Gates. At that meeting I called upon Mr. Gates to resign as chief of police.
I did so because the Los Angeles Police Department is at a crossroads in its great history. As an LAPD veteran, I empathize with the thousands of honorable officers who have watched helplessly as the department’s prestige has been seriously tarnished. The men and women of the Police Department are on the streets every day, doing the tough, dirty and dangerous business of fighting crime. These officers deserve the best. The damage to the department’s reputation cannot continue. My priority is to restore the public’s confidence in the cop on the street.
Our city must also begin to heal its wounds. My duty as mayor is to all of Los Angeles. I simply will not stand by as our city is split apart. We must come together. We must heal.
I have said time and time again that this healing cannot begin--that the Police Department’s reputation cannot be restored--as long as Daryl Gates is at the center of the storm of protests. The public has lost confidence in large measure in Chief Gates since Rodney King was beaten. I have asked him to show the uncommon courage to retire for the good of the Police Department and the welfare of all of Los Angeles.
Since I legally cannot remove the chief, I have waited patiently for him to see that by remaining on the job he is hurting the men and women of the Police Department he loves so much. Unfortunately, Chief Gates has not recognized the impact he is having on the Police Department.
Instead, Chief Gates has embarked upon a public relations campaign that has only deepened our wounds and widened our differences. His reactions to the tragic Rodney King beating have made an ugly situation even worse. Chief Gates has portrayed the public’s outrage over the beating as a personal attack on himself and the department. That is not the case, and to suggest otherwise does a disservice to the Police Department and to the people of Los Angeles.
As mayor, I have reluctantly concluded that I can no longer wait for Daryl Gates to do what is best for the Police Department. I can no longer count on him to act in the best interests of all of Los Angeles.
That is why, today, I called upon Daryl Gates to resign. Chief Gates is a public official, and he owes a special responsibility to the public he has sworn to serve. When the public begins to lose confidence in the chief, and in the Police Department, the chief has only one choice. He must step aside. He must allow the winds of change to blow across the Police Department, to refresh its officers, and to restore the department’s vigor and reputation.
Chief Gates, now is the time for you to do the right thing--for your officers, for your department, for the public you serve.