Daryl Gates, the 83-year-old former LAPD chief, died today in Newport Beach, the LA Times, OC Register and other sources are reporting. Gates, for those who didn't know, served as LA's police chief from 1978 to 1992, when he retired in the aftermath of the riots that began on April 29. Ah yes, the good old days...
A divisive figure, Gates was beloved by many cops, including the guys who went to town on Rodney King. After those officers were acquitted of beating the shit out of King after a car chase--video footage of the incident shows the cops tasing and clubbing King, who was alternatively kneeling and lying on the ground, for several minutes--the whole city went bonkers and Gates days were numbered.
But before his ignominious departure, Gates had some interesting ideas in his day.
Casual drug users? Why, they should be "taken out and shot," Gates once said. And what about the fact that his officers had a bad habit of choking black suspects to death with their batons? Well, you see, Gates once remarked, this wasn't the fault of his officers because the "blacks" don't have the same kind of neck as "normal" people.
Check out the Register obit to see some touching tributes to Gates, like this one:
"Despite his racism, he did a greater good."
"Gates had the right idea for LA, by adopting a paramilitary stance...Gates was not afraid of PC and didn't water down the truth."
Or this one...
"As yes the Rodney King riots, it will always amaze me what happens when some folks only get half the story and are weak minded enough to follow another in the destruction of one's community. The police didn't do anything wrong Rodney did. I just feel bad that some dude on PCP can act how he wants and the police who are trying to protect us "normal" folks get in deep trouble for doing their job.