Judge rules L.A. City Council had right to keep Gates in job

May 14, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES ( — LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that the City Council was within its authority when it pre-empted the Police Commission's move to place Police Chief Daryl F. Gates on a 60-day leave of absence.

The ruling by Judge Ronald Sohigian, which leaves Chief Gates ensconced in his position, could have major ramifications for control of the 8,300-member Los Angeles Police Department.

"The [city] Charter gives the council the power to act as it did," Judge Sohigian wrote in a 49-page opinion.

Judge Sohigian's ruling was a decisive victory for the City Council, the City Attorney's office and Chief Gates, and a defeat for the civilian Police Commission and various civil rights groups that have been calling for the chief's ouster since the police beating March 3 of Rodney G. King.

The decision stemmed from the April 4 suspension of Chief Gates. As part of a deal with the city, Chief Gates will now drop his suit against the city and all monetary claims.

Mayor Tom Bradley, who appoints members of the Police Commission, said, "This decision cannot be allowed to stand. I have to believe the Police Commission is going to take it up to the appellate court."

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