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Daryl Gates, Former LAPD Chief, Dies

Daryl Gates, Former LAPD Chief, Dies

In this May 29, 1992 file photo, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates autographs his book for new police officers after their graduation in Los Angeles. (AP)

AP via YellowBrix

April 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Daryl F. Gates, the polarizing former police chief whose 14-year tenure ended amid widespread criticism over his department’s response to the city’s deadly 1992 riots, died Friday after a short bout with cancer. He was 83.

Gates died at his Newport Beach home with his family at his side, according to a police statement.

Gates’ brother said in February the former chief had bladder cancer that had spread to a bone near his hip.

A tart-tongued career cop with a short fuse and a penchant for making controversial statements, Gates was a flashpoint for controversy long before the riots that broke out after four white police officers were acquitted of most charges in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.

“He was a man of deep convictions,” said former Police Chief William Bratton, who left the department last year. “He was very happy to stand up for them, whether you liked them or not. And he enjoyed being in the middle of the bull’s-eye. He thrived on it.”

Although often at odds with civil rights activists, the mayor and other political figures, Gates was well-liked by rank-and-file police officers. He was responsible for numerous police successes that came to be overlooked when he was forced into early retirement after the riots.

Gates was a “one-in-a-million human being,” current Police Chief Charlie Beck said. “He inspired others to succeed and, in doing so, changed the landscape of law enforcement around the world.”

He was credited with developing the policing plan that brought off the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with not so much as a traffic jam. He also created the department’s popular Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program for youth.

As a member of the police department’s command staff in 1972, he formed Los Angeles’ first Special Weapons and Tactics Team or SWAT. He also shut down one of the department’s intelligence units in 1983 after learning officers were spying on the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations.

“He was a man of courage and character who had a deep commitment to the rule of law, with a deep pride of the LAPD,” said Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police officers union. “Chief Gates was a cop’s cop.”

As early as 1982, Gates came under fire for saying more blacks died than whites during the use of carotid chokeholds because “the veins or arteries do not open up as fast as they do on normal people.”

Forensic experts said there was no such difference between races and a black community leader said the only reason blacks died more frequently was because the chokehold was used on them more often.

Gates later apologized.

In 1991, when a policewoman was killed in the line of duty, Gates labeled her accused assailant as “an El Salvadoran drunk who doesn’t belong here.” He once told a congressional committee that drug users should be shot.

Gates’ police career began to unravel with the 1991 beating of King, which was videotaped by a man in a nearby apartment after King was pulled over for speeding. Audiotapes of the officers making racist remarks about the incident were released and the videotape of the prolonged beating televised.

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Not just the LE world, but the world in general lost a great man. RIP Chief!

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in Peace Chief Gates. A cop's cop with balls

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Rest in peace, Chief Gates. You served well during a difficult time in L.A.'s history.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Not enough great things could be said about Chief Gates. He was the founder and creator of SWAT and the DARE program. Unfairly blamed for the acts of a few and the mess that followed.

    Rest In Peace Chief and know that the watch is still influenced by you and the way you did things. God Speed.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Everything I have read about the man tells me that he was a real cop's cop ! Like a good leader, he gave you his honest opinion, waited for the backlash...and didnt back down.
    Rest in peace Chief Gates, the people of L.A. owe you their gratitude.

  • Lady_jessie_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I am stunned.

    It seemed just like last year when I was mugging with the Chief at Baker to Vegas. We were jaw jacking about this and that and I knew I was in the presence of the Founder of SWAT. Someone took our picture. I sent the picture to 'The Chief' and he personally signed it for me. I have it still.

    This is a loss of profound implications. There is no one currently serving anywhere that can claim a parallel legacy similar to 'The Chief'.

    I am very saddened by this loss. Sincerest condolences to the LAPD family and those older veterans who personally knew 'The Chief'.

  • Me_and_caleb_max50


    over 4 years ago


    A good man who got the blame for all of it. Chief Gates, those who knew and worked for you, know you were top notch and stood by your officers, unlike many beaten and whipped chiefs today that throw their officers to the wolves!

    Rest in peace Sir.....

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I would imagine during his tenure the two thumps when he rose in the morning were his balls hitting the floor. A cops cop. What a tribute. The best of the best. I salute you sir and my condolences to the family.

  • Untitled_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • Avatar_max160_max160_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I have always respected you Chief. Rest in Peace Sir (brother) you will be missed.

  • Joefriday_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Gates was a good man and a good cheif. he will be missed god bless and god speed sir.

  • Thinker_max50


    over 4 years ago


    RIP and condolences to the family. He was a true cop....

  • Dove_over_flag_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and the officers of LAPD. Chief Gates was a no-nonsense guy who was eaten up by the corrupt/BS politics of LA at that time and which endures. I doubt there will be another like him.

  • Pl1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Chief Gates.

  • Nag_max50


    over 4 years ago



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