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Former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates battling bladder cancer

Ex-chief Gates hospitalized with serious illnessFormer Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, who led the department for more than a decade, has been hospitalized with bladder cancer, sources said Tuesday.

Chief Charlie Beck informed the police commission during its Tuesday meeting that he had visited the former LAPD chief in the hospital over the weekend. Beck said Gates, 83, had a "very serious malady." He did not describe the nature of Gates' illness.

"I ask everyone to keep him in their prayers," Beck said.

According to sources familiar with Gates' medical condition, however, he has been hospitalized for several weeks with bladder cancer that has spread to his bone structure near his hip. Gates has been receiving radiation treatments to eradicate the cancer and his doctors want to then start chemotherapy for the tumor in the bladder.

"Los Angeles police officers are praying that Chief Gates will have a quick recovery and be able to get back to making frequent appearances to honor officers for their service -- from retirements and funerals to ceremonies and charity events -- as soon as possible," said Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the police union.

Gates, once a driver for former Chief William H. Parker, rose through the ranks to serve as department chief from 1978 to 1992. Throughout his career he made headlines, often verbally sparring with Mayor Tom Bradley and council members. Known as the father of the modern SWAT team, he retired in 1992.

His retirement occurred after the riots following the Rodney G. King beating trial. But the pressure for Gates to retire came before the riots when the Christopher Commission issued a scathing report on the department under Gates. The commission findings signaled a new era of LAPD management.

Many police experts say Gates help developed many of the tactical responses used in modern policing. Gates, who attended Beck's recent swearing-in as chief, remained a popular figure with rank-and-file officers in retirement. While in office, however, his relationship with the Los Angeles Police Protective League was often combative.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: L.A. Times file

Comments () | Archives (17)

The only time I ever had any run in with the police occurred on January 3, 1990. It was at the corner of Olive and 3rd St. in downtown L.A. I was a visitor to L.A. at the time.

I grew up in New York where people crossing the street in between blocks or at "don't walk" signs was commonplace and people didn't think much of it. Where I grew up, it was never an issue with politicians, with newspaper columnists or in editorials. So I walked a "don't walk" sign without thinking anything of it until I was suddenly stopped by an LAPD officer on a motorcycle. He asked me for my ID. At first, I had no idea why he was stopping me or asking for my ID. He told me I walked a "don't walk" sign.

At first, I thought this was a joke. Then I realized he was serious and that I was getting a ticket. The officer didn't care that I was visiting from a city where this sort of thing is commonplace and that I never heard of people getting ticketed for walking a "don't walk" sign. He was very rude and put words in my mouth comparing me to motorists who drive past red lights. I told him several times had I known this is how things were done here, I would have been respectful for that, but he was having none of it.

Plus, it didn't help that the cop told me he's a native New Yorker as well. It is a fact that New Yorkers are bigger jerks towards other New Yorkers in California.

A year later, there was the Rodney King beating and a year after that, was the riot that claimed 60 lives and caused $1 billion in damages.

This was Daryl Gates' way of running a department, a way I have no respect for.

Sorry that he's suffering now, but he caused a lot of unnecessary suffering to the citizens of L.A. Have people already forgotten how this man defended just about every type of police misdeed against some of this cities most vulnerable citizens?

Thankfully the LAPD has worked hard to rehabilitate its image, and has come a long way since the Gates era to correct its deficiencies.

To the Costa Mesa resident: Dude, ignorance of the law doesn't mean that its OK to break it. It doesn't matter if its something trivial like jaywalking, it serves a purpose: to protect you from harm.

Chief Gates and the LAPD made the streets safe, while a Mayor and his cronies stole the city blind. The rioting that transpired happened because a black Mayor told the citizens to take to the streets and voice their anger, upon the reading of the verdict. Many in some communities did. The Mayor gets the blame for that. If you were in L.A. at the time you would know that. President Bush had one of the worst employment records in modern history. That caused more pain and anger than anything the Chief did.

Chief Gates . . . no one deserves this illness, that's first off.

Rock concerts were nice events to go to - until Gates became Chief Gates. I'll never forget the lines to get in through the security search - that's when I stopped going to concerts. Yes - illegal drugs were being brought in to be enjoyed. Yes, he came down hard. Yes, his time as police chief was marked by massive abuses of private and peaceful citizens by policemen acting as thugs. I was most happy when he retired.

Do I dare say it. KARMA...

Joe you need to get your facts together. Native Anegleno no one are getting jay walking tickets these days. The police office could have explained and treated him better. LAPD does not have good manners today, and the officers still think they are above the law. As for Gated too bad he is sick, and in pain. He created a lot of pain for other people, and he kmows how it feels NOW.

The last true CHIEF of the LAPD!

You cannot "battle" cancer, you can only surrender to God and realize your perfection. Now THAT is recovery!

A hard ass cop! plain and simple. Don't want a problem with the police, don't break the law.

Working for the Los Angeles Police Department as a civilian, for 32 years,(I'm african american), live in South Central L.A., I had come to respect Chief Gates for the things he had done in South Central Los Angeles that outsiders didn't see, not saying he was a saint but compared to other chiefs and you know for 32 years of service I've went thru a few of them he was cool.

Get well Chief Gates.

I remember the days of Daryl Gates, and he always made me smile when I thought of the great contributions he made to keeping everyone safe. I'm just an ordinary Southern CA citizen and I think Gates was one of the best.

This is really not the time or place to pound on the former chief. People who use this forum forum to bad-mouth Mr. Gates are showing themselves to be shallow and vindictive with absolutely no class.

My prayers go out to Mr. Gates.

Chief Gates set the standard during difficult times with a department which was and still is out manned and out gunned. Nobody deserves this to happen to them. God speed to a quick recovery and a long and healthy life.

As I said earlier...Gates was tough on crime and the criminals hated him...The officers and the good taxpayers loved him...

Joe, why was it necessary for you to mention the former mayor's race when you claimed he told his citizens to take to the streets? What are you saying? It's attitudes like yours that led to people rioting.

Shame on those of you that posted your own selfish and unkind comments. This is not the proper place or time.

I pray that no one does what you are doing to Darryl Gates, to any of your friends or famiy, when they are dying of cancer.


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