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Sniping from the sidelines

June 09, 2007

Re "The Times (heart) Bratton," Opinion, June 3

Former Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks stated that Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky "was hired by the police union to write a report on the Rampart scandal" as a means to discredit his critics' objectivity. In fact, then-Police Protective League President Ted Hunt and I asked then-USC Law School professor Chemerinsky if he would provide an independent analysis of the Rampart Board of Inquiry report issued by then-Chief Parks. We were concerned that the report dealt with personnel only at the sergeant level and below and offered no accountability to higher-ups. Chemerinsky insisted on the report being truly independent, that the league would not pay any amount and that the report would be issued to the public simultaneously with delivery to the league. He was concerned, and apparently rightly so, that this historic left-meets-right cooperation would be misconstrued should there be any kind of remuneration, as if the report's participants were paid to reflect a predetermined point of view.

In spite of fierce opposition from the league's directors, concern by liberal pundits and skepticism from media observers, the Chemerinsky report was regarded as sound, objective and found many supporters within the ranks of the league who had vehemently objected to the initiative.

That's why several conservative league board members joined with the ACLU's Ramona Ripston, L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs and Chemerinsky at a news conference to announce the report's findings.

GEOFFREY L. GARFIELD

Los Angeles

The writer is a former communications director for the Police Protective League.

*

Parks suggests that The Times has shown consistent favorable treatment of Police Chief William J. Bratton. As a lifelong Angeleno and the chairman of the L.A. Police Foundation, I know that this could not be further from the truth. The Times' coverage has simply reflected the facts: that Bratton has been an excellent police chief, meeting the challenges the job entails with integrity, intelligence and good judgment. It is a shame that five years after his replacement, Parks' bitterness remains so great that he has chosen not to support his successor but rather to snipe at him from the sidelines.

JIM WIATT

Chairman

L.A. Police Foundation

*

I have never been accused of blind loyalty to The Times, but Parks has got to be kidding. His "Outside the Tent" rant reminds me of a great quote: "I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid angry man. In Morse code."

SAMUEL K. MICHAELS JR.

Hancock Park

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