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Remember Warren Christopher and his role in changing L.A.

March 19, 2011 |  4:21 pm

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who died late Friday, left his mark on many parts of the world.

Talk back LA

But the L.A. attorney made a special mark on his hometown, where he stepped into the rebuilding of the Los Angeles Police Department at a crucial moment. As The Times' Elaine Woo reported in a obituary for Christopher:

When Los Angeles fractured along racial lines after the 1991 police beating of Rodney G. King, Christopher was drafted to head the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, which quickly became known as the Christopher Commission. Under his leadership, the 100-day inquiry produced a plan for the department's overhaul, including a strong call to replace Chief Daryl F. Gates, who later resigned.

The unity of the commission -- which included members selected by Gates and his main antagonist, Mayor Tom Bradley -- was in large measure a testament to its self-effacing chairman, whose quiet diplomacy produced results.

"Most talking is not glamorous," he once said. "Often it is tedious. It can be excruciating and exhausting. But talking can also tame conflict, lift the human condition, and move us close to the ideal of peace."

Share you thoughts on Christopher's contribution to L.A. and reform at the LAPD below.

Photo: Warren Christopher; Getty Images

Related:

Read the Christopher Commission Report.

Credit: Getty Images

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