The lighter side of Daryl Gates

I’ll be the first to admit that I never had a great impression of Daryl Gates. Not because I didn’t think he was a good leader of the police department but I just scratched my head at his response to the Rodney King beatings and the subsequent racial unrest that followed.

But, I dare anyone to read this blog by a former Daily News reporter and not have a different opinion of the man. The story is about how Gates reacted to the murder of a police detective, who was cowardly gunned down while picking up his 6-year-old son from school. The detective probably saved his son by telling him to duck right before he was shot. The boy survived but had to see his father’s lifeless body after the shooting.

As the father of a 6-year-old son, I had a hard time reading this without getting choked up. But even more, I admired how Gates personalized this tragedy and later became an important figure in that boy’s life as he grew older.

It’s an important reminder that sometimes the public persona of a person is much different than the human behind the scenes.

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One Response to “The lighter side of Daryl Gates”

  1. Tony, I knew Daryl Gates. At the end of his career with LAPD he was much vilified by the press for the Rodney King affair. However, as each day passes since his death more stories have been trickling out about just what a wonderful guy he was. The one you linked to is only the most recent and, I’m sure, many more will be published in the coming months. Daryl and I graduated from the same high school, although a generation apart. I knew him through my best friend, a 31-year LAPD officer. Daryl has been described as a “cops cop”, which he was and much more than that. He was an outstanding leader. The article you linked to described him as a “general”, and that he was. And yet, he loved all those brave men and women on the LAPD like they were his sons and daughters. Although many subsequent chiefs have come and gone, he has not yet been “replaced” on the LAPD and I seriously doubt he will be. Thanks for your post in his honor.

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