LOS ANGELES : Gates Defends Method of Questioning Officers

Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, continuing his testimony Tuesday in a police shooting trial, defended his department's policy of first questioning officers involved in shootings and then tape-recording their statements.

Gates acknowledged that when civilian witnesses are questioned about police shootings they are usually tape-recorded from the start to "lock in" their accounts of the incident.

In contrast, police officers are not recorded until they have already discussed the incident at length with investigators, he said.

Gates testified as a defendant in the three-month trial of a lawsuit by the families of three men who were shot to death and a fourth man who was wounded by police following a robbery at a McDonald's restaurant in Sunland on Feb. 12, 1990.

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