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Los Angeles

Black Group Endorses Art Lopez

LAPD: Political advocacy association says it backs the police chief finalist because of his record in Oxnard department.

September 29, 2002|ANTHONY McCARTNEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An African American political organization on Saturday endorsed Oxnard Police Chief Art Lopez as its choice to lead the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lopez is one of three finalists for police chief, and leaders of the Black American Political Assn. of California said they are backing him because of his record in Oxnard.

Since he took over the Oxnard Police Department in 1998 after a long career with the LAPD, Lopez has tried to recruit more black officers, said Bobbie Blair, leader of the group's Oxnard chapter.

This year, Lopez attended the organization's Juneteenth celebration and brought several officers to talk with residents.

The Black American Political Assn. works to elect candidates who support African American political causes, and said it has 60,000 members in California.

Organization President Percy Pinkney said the group simply did not know the other candidates: William Bratton, former New York City police commissioner, and John Timoney, former Philadelphia police commissioner.

Pinkney said several black LAPD officers told the organization that Lopez "worked well with them and was always for equal justice" when he was with the department.

Not all group members supported the endorsement, however.

Windsor Heights resident Ernestine Napue said she was not happy with any of the three finalists, and hoped the city would take a look at more candidates. She also worried that Lopez could be too close to Mayor James K. Hahn.

Napue said she was disgusted by Hahn's decision earlier this year to not give former Chief Bernard C. Parks a second five-year term. She said whoever next leads the department should "definitely be African American or Latino" in order to properly represent city residents and fix the troubled department.

The group also announced its endorsement of Parks, who is running for the District 8 seat on the Los Angeles City Council. It backed Anthony Batts as its choice to lead the Long Beach Police Department, and endorsed Proposition 49, which would expand after-school programs at public schools.

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