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Police Commissioner Quits in Battle With Police Chief!

June 18, 2009 |  2:00 pm

June 18, 1959, Resignation Letter

June 18, 1959, Mirror Cover, Police Commissioner Quits
June 18, 1959: Ethel Barrymore dies.

June 18, 1959, Police Commissioner Resigns

The only African American member of the Police Commission resigns, accusing Chief William H. Parker of leading a department that "whitewashes policemen accused of brutality, and practices discrimination in arrests."

Greenwood further charges that instead of reporting to the Police Commission, Parker controls the oversight board and ignores their orders. "We don't tell him. He tells us," Greenwood says.

"The policy is that if it's a case of a citizen against an officer, the officer is always believed," Greenwood says.

Parker replies: "Los Angeles has the highest reputation in the country for lack of discrimination."

Six years later, Watts will explode in flames -- and white Los Angeles will wonder why.