April 16th, 2010
11:45 AM ET

Former LAPD chief Gates dead at 83

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] Daryl Gates, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has died at the age of 83 after a battled bladder cancer, the LAPD said.

Gates was the city's top cop from 1978 through 1992, when he resigned in the wake of the turmoil from the 1991 Rodney King police beating and the riots that followed.

His 14 years as chief was a time of change, growth and turmoil in Los Angeles, as the city passed Chicago to become the nation's second largest.

His reputation was tarnished by racial gaffes, including one highly-publicized remark when he defended officers' use of carotid chokehold that sometimes led to injuries or death.

Gates suggested that blacks had arteries that "do not open up as fast as on normal people."  He later said he intended "normal" to mean all healthy people.

His department was credited with keeping the 1984 Summer Olympics safe, while not imposing an impressive police presence.

A native of the Los Angeles area, Gates joined the LAPD as a rookie cop in 1949.

[Posted at 10:45 a.m.] Daryl Gates, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has died at the age of 83.

The LAPD said Gates had battled bladder cancer.

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. jeffrey lemberger

    My deepest condolences to the LAPD and especially to the family of Chief Gates. He will be sorrly missed.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Big Red

    RIP. You were a solid boss.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Philip McCleary

    Great Man and a Great Cop. You will be missed in a world where people like you are needed even more.
    RIP Sir

    April 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rabbi shifren

    Chief, I had the pleasure of knowing you and the honor of having your support. You were my idea of a civil servant that prided himself in doing everything well.
    I know so many officers that admired you as an honest hard-working cop.
    Thank you for being the kind of American that served as a role model for those of us growing up in an era of confusion and lack of values.
    Semper Fi, Chief Gates!

    April 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Eric

    His legacy will live on in the Police Quest computer games. I wish I could have met him.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Carl McKay

    The man was an absolute visionary in law enforcement. One example – he invented the idea of SWAT teams (now Special Weapons and Tactics, then Special Weapon Attack Teams). Before that, lone police officers were expected to go up against heavily armed, barricaded thugs. Beyond that, he valued the lives of his officers and believed in their safety. Great man.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Retired Sgt II Jim Nolan

    First I want to say a word or two on the comment made by CNN's Alan Duke. Mr. Duke stated that Chief Daryl Gates resigned due to the turmoil resulting from the Rodney King "beating" and the subsequent riots that followed. Chief Daryl Gates didn't resign but retired after more than 40 years of service to the City of Los Angeles. Resigning leads one to believe that one has committed an egregious act. Chief Gates was forced out because his dedication to the police officers of Los Angeles and the citizens of L.A. which was in direct conflict with the political current of the politicians in control. Having said that, Chief Daryl Gates was the embodiment of the perfect leader. When I heard that Chief Gates passed away today, I cried. I would see the Chief several times a month as he went for runs around his condo in Hollenbeck Div. He always had time for the Street Cop. Chief Gates wasn't perfect but he was a Hero to me and many others. I could go on and on but must simply say, You were the "Man" Chief Gates, more should be like you, this world would be much better off.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Bosco

    Gates was a terrible person and even worse cop. I am from LA and remember growing up under a gestapo type police enviornment. Gates was known for carrying on the tradition of his predecessor Sgt. Parker of recruiting cops from the Southern states to implement its racist practices in Los Angeles. Gates was responsible for breeding an utterly corrupt and racist police culture. He allowed for elements of White Supremacist groups to infiltrate the police department. He kept communities of color under siege during his reign of terror. The Rodney King incident was merely the straw the broke the camels back. It took the City of Los Angeles years through successful lawsuits and investigations to finally purge the LA police department of the Gates effect. He was a terrible person and a terrible cop!

    April 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bosco

    Gates was a terrible person and a worse cop. I am from LA and remember growing up under a gestapo type police enviornment. Gates was known for carrying on the tradition of his predecessor Sgt. Parker of recruiting cops from the Southern states to implement its racist practices in Los Angeles. Gates was responsible for breeding an utterly corrupt and racist police culture. He allowed for elements of White Supremacist groups to infiltrate the police department. He kept communities of color under siege during his reign of terror. The Rodney King incident was merely the straw that broke the camels back. It took the City of Los Angeles years (by virtue of successful lawsuits and investigations) to finally purge the LA police department of the Gates effect. He was a terrible person and a terrible cop! There are plenty of fine policie officers, but he was not one of them.

    April 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kenneth Rinderhagen

    Rest in Peace Daryl Gates A man who did a lot to protect the community of dangers and evils that threatened the ethics and practical means of success trust and happiness!

    September 7, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kenneth Rinderhagen

    A man who did a lot to protect the community of dangers and evils that threatened the ethics and practical means of success trust and happiness!

    Rodney King was a belligerent drunk that had problems and abused family members and refused to get help and he reckless stole money for drugs and gambling problems and often refused to be civilized member of the community. Rodney King was driving under the influence and would not comply with orders while others feared he had a weapon and was threaten to use it.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse | Reply

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