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Closer Scrutiny For Christopher

March 21, 1993

I was disappointed in the Feb. 21 puff piece ("St. Christopher," by Robert Scheer) about Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The article was not up to Scheer's usually insightful standards. We need to know more about Christopher, who has played a key role in shaping the Clinton Administration.

Christopher may have helped shepherd civil rights legislation through Congress for Lyndon Johnson, but he also was Johnson's personal trouble-shooter in the suppression of blacks in the Detroit rebellion of the '60s. From his Justice Department position, he would have helped coordinate the use of U.S. Army troops with local police forces in Chicago in 1968 to put down the uprising that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The commission that Christopher headed to investigate the Los Angeles Police Department certainly documented the extent of racism and sexism within the LAPD and broke a deadlock at City Hall somewhat expedited by the retirement of Chief Daryl F. Gates. But by derailing and defusing the movement by blacks, Latinos and some whites and Asians for Gates' removal and serious reform and civilian control of the Police Department, the commission's report can be seen as having laid the groundwork for the outburst of frustration at the acquittals of the officers involved in the Rodney King arrest.

You owe your readers a deeper examination of Christopher's politics.

MICHAEL NOVICK

Burbank

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