Mayor Bradley's Speech

With regard to the letters (May 13), in which some citizens blamed Mayor Tom Bradley for inciting the Los Angeles riots with the speech he delivered immediately following the announcement of the King verdicts, I heard the entire speech. My reaction to this finger-pointing is that it is patently absurd and demonstrates a profound lack of understanding as to what precipitated the riots and destruction.

The mayor's characterization of the verdicts as inexplicable, unjust and outrageous resonated with the vast majority of citizens in the U.S. and the world. The mayor went on carefully to offer several constructive means of channeling the people's rage, none of which involved taking to the streets. He discussed the termination of the three officers, continuing the reform movement, passage of Amendment F on the June ballot, passing legislation to make it easier to prosecute police misconduct in the future, and trying the officers on federal civil rights violation charges.

To say that he encouraged or precipitated these riots is a gross slander of a responsible public official who is, incidentally, an ex-police officer, and who has devoted his entire tenure as mayor of Los Angeles to providing leadership devoid of politics based on racial or ethnic hatred, animosity, or violence. Those who are trying to lay blame for the riots at his doorstep must be some of the same people who blocked the efforts to bring about accountability by the Los Angeles Police Department during my tenure on the Police Commission last year.

The Los Angeles riots were triggered by a morally bankrupt and legally indefensible jury verdict, which can never be accepted, and by years of hopelessness and neglect of the inner city and its residents.


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