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Officers Union Withdraws Garcetti Backing

May 04, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A statewide labor organization of police officers and sheriffs' deputies withdrew its endorsement of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti on Wednesday, saying it wanted to hold a debate before it decided whom to support in the November election.

The move by the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs (COPS) was the latest blow to Garcetti's campaign, which has been struggling since he finished second in the March 7 primary, throwing him into a runoff with challenger Steve Cooley, who finished first.

"It's not often COPS withdraws its endorsement from a candidate, but because of the impact this race will have on Los Angeles County's peace officers, we decided to take a second look at it," said the organization's president, Burbank Police Lt. Don Brown.

"To be fair about it, Mr. Cooley deserves an opportunity to be heard by the law enforcement professionals in the county before we make our final endorsement decision."

The organization is working with the two campaigns to schedule a debate, Executive Director Monty Holden said. Representatives for both candidates said they are willing to participate.

Garcetti's campaign manager, Eric Nasarenko, said he is hopeful that COPS would restore its endorsement after the debate. He noted that the organization supported Garcetti in 1996. "We're glad to debate, and we welcome the opportunity before an audience of law enforcement members," he added.

COPS says it has 5,000 members statewide, 2,000 of them in Los Angeles County.

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