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Milestones in Bratton's first term as LAPD chief

June 20, 2007|Tami Abdollah | Times Staff Writer

Here are some of the ups and downs from Police Chief William J. Bratton's first term:

2002: William J. Bratton, former New York police commissioner, takes over the Los Angeles Police Department. He arrives during a wave of gang violence in South Los Angeles and immediately vows a gang crackdown.

2003: Bratton and Mayor James K. Hahn face off against the L.A. City Council over the mayor's budget, which includes money to hire 320 additional LAPD officers and reorganize the department. Bratton angers some council members by saying that rejection of his request is like failing to support the U.S. troops who invaded Normandy on D-day. The council hands Bratton a bitter political defeat.

2004: Local TV cameras videotape LAPD officers beating Stanley Miller, a black man from Compton, at the end of a high-speed chase. Bratton subsequently prohibits large metal flashlights like the type used to beat Miller, opting for smaller, rubber flashlights that can't be used as weapons. Also, Bratton employs a "10-50" plan, in which the department concentrates resources on the top 10% of violent criminals, who he says commit 50% of crimes.

2005: The fatal shooting of 13-year-old Devin Brown by an LAPD officer at the end of a police chase inflames political and racial tensions. Bratton and the Police Commission come to opposite conclusions on the incident; Bratton says the officer's life was threatened by Brown, but the commission says the officer violated departmental rules and should face possible discipline for the shooting. Bratton calls for a change in policy to limit incidences of police shootings into moving vehicles.

2006: Bratton is criticized for spending more than one-third of 2005, or 125 days, out of town on business or personal trips. He says traveling is necessary to bring more money to the city from the federal and state governments and to establish relationships with counterparts in other agencies. The City Council asks the Police Commission to launch an investigation into Bratton's "unprofessional and unnecessary" public comments -- pointing to comments he made about a few council members and others in the community. Bratton reaches out to council members to smooth things over. The council OKs more officers for the LAPD.

2007: Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launch another crackdown on gang violence, identifying Los Angeles' 11 worst gangs and promising to go after them with teams of police, federal agents, probation officers and prosecutors. Bratton is on the hot seat when an elite platoon of Metropolitan Division officers swarm a May Day immigration rally in MacArthur Park, hitting reporters and rally attendees with batons, foam bullets and other projectiles.

Bratton harshly criticizes what he calls a breakdown in police command and calls the action an "aberration," apologizing for the incident and reassigning two high-ranking LAPD commanders for their role in the police response.


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