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Parks' Letter on New Rampart Inquiry Draws Fire

September 03, 2003|Monte Morin | Times Staff Writer

A letter distributed by former Police Chief Bernard C. Parks explaining his refusal to participate in a new investigation of police abuses in the Rampart Division was criticized Tuesday by the Police Commission president and a city councilman.

A day after Parks delivered the letter to council members charging that the latest Rampart review was a waste of money and time, Councilman Dennis Zine said the former chief was being needlessly obstructive.

"He should be cooperating, because he's the most knowledgeable of all the individuals involved," Zine said.

That view was echoed by Police Commissioner Rick Caruso, who said: "Any chief of police whose tenure includes this type of scandal should be eager to accept another review. This panel was put together to complete the work Parks promised to do, but failed to do."

Now-Councilman Parks has refused to meet with members of the Blue Ribbon Rampart Review Panel, headed by civil rights attorney Connie Rice.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 04, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Police Commission -- An article in Wednesday's California section about a new investigation of police abuses in the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division mistakenly identified Police Commissioner Rick Caruso as president. David S. Cunningham III is the Police Commission president.

"The latest Rampart Blue Ribbon Committee is six years, five formal reports, millions of dollars and literally hundreds of thousands of pages too late," Parks wrote in his letter, according to Associated Press.

Parks, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, also wrote that he wanted to devote himself to constituent issues and said none of his constituents had asked him about Rampart.

"It is a dead issue in the hearts and minds of many, except those few opportunistic souls who want to stand in the glow of 15 minutes of fame. To them, I suggest 'American Idol,' not city hall," he wrote.

Zine said a copy of the letter was slid under his office door on Labor Day.

While still chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Parks promised to produce a report detailing "the exact nature and disposition of each allegation" that had surfaced during the Rampart investigation. He initially said the report would be presented to the public by early 2001. But the document was still in the works when the chief was forced out of office more than a year later.

When a draft version was submitted to Chief William J. Bratton this year, Bratton deemed it "totally inadequate" and, with members of the Police Commission, called for an independent panel to do the job.

Among the issues the Rice panel is expected to explore is the extent to which detectives investigated the allegations of former Officer Rafael Perez, who, in exchange for a lighter sentence on cocaine theft charges, agreed to identify officers who committed crimes.

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Times staff writer Scott Glover and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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