Chief Bratton's resignation is a great loss for the city of Los Angeles. He believes in community policing, and he restored the confidence of the community in the LAPD. I watched three prior police chiefs run the LAPD, and the reality is that progress was not made until Chief Bratton became chief and imposed his will and values on the department.
While Chief Bratton has made some progress in ending racial profiling by the LAPD, it's unfortunate that he rejected our recent report documenting continued racial profiling by the department - a report that showed black and Latino residents of this city are stopped, frisked and arrested far more often than whites. That's a very troubling trend, and it demonstrates that even under Chief Bratton, the LAPD has not yet met all the goals and intent of the Consent Decree.
We urge the Police Commission to take the strongest possible leadership role to ensure that the department continues to work toward ending discrimination in its policing, as required by the federal judge who recently terminated the Consent Decree. Indeed, much about the LAPD is in flux -- the removal of court supervision, the end of the monitor's role, new responsibilities for the inspector general and now the departure of Chief Bratton. The department needs a new leader who is up to the standards set by him, and who is no less committed to the reforms currently in place than Chief Bratton was.
We wish the chief well. However, his announcement that he will be working in a new venture with Michael Cherkasky -- who was the court-appointed monitor for the Consent Decree -- raises serious questions that need to be answered.
Ramona Ripston is Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California.