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Williams Gives Reassurances to Community Leaders

August 20, 1995|JEANNETTE DeSANTIS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Trying to soothe fears that rogue officers are rampant in the Los Angeles Police Department, Police Chief Willie L. Williams met with community leaders Saturday to assure them that he will not tolerate activity such as that described in the recently disclosed Mark Fuhrman tapes.

Williams told the 75 people in attendance that he was concerned about the community's reactions to the Fuhrman tapes, in which the former LAPD detective described in graphic detail a bloody police beating.

"He made it clear that he and the department are divorcing themselves from Fuhrman's comments," said Xavier Hermosillo, a participant at the afternoon meeting. "He said those things would not occur in a Willie Williams administration."

Hermosillo, a member of the chief's Latino Advisory Community Forum, said the chief made a brief statement at the beginning of the meeting, then took notes as community leaders gave their views on the controversy.

The two-hour meeting at Parker Center, which was called late Friday, also included members of the Los Angeles Community Police Advisory Board, Asian Pacific Islander Forum and African American Community Forum, said Officer Don Cox.

After the meeting, the chief told reporters that he had also talked about "social issues that have not been addressed and have not been acted on for generations" that must be addressed now.

Fuhrman reportedly used racial slurs and described police brutality to a North Carolina screenwriter who taped the interviews. O.J. Simpson's defense lawyers are seeking to use portions of the tapes in his murder trial.

Fuhrman's lawyer has said the former detective was acting out a part for a possible movie and was not referring to actual cases.

On Friday, The Times reported that a scenario outlined by Fuhrman on the tapes had striking similarities to an incident that occurred in Boyle Heights in 1978.

Williams said he is personally investigating the 1978 incident in which two police officers were shot at a Boyle Heights housing project. Williams told reporters that Fuhrman was one of more than a dozen officers charged with personnel complaints after that incident. But all 16 accused officers were cleared of wrongdoing, the chief said.

* IN SPOTLIGHT'S GLARE: Drip-by-drip leak process is brutally damaging LAPD. B1

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