Still on the case…today we spoke with Police Commissioner John Mack, formerly the head of the Los Angeles Urban League regarding the Parker Center controversy–but quickly turning into a scandal. The Police Commission has been accused of doing the dirty work of Chief Bratton and trying to “pull a fast one” on the City Council by directing the Building of Engineering to omit the Parker name on the Police Administration Building.
Here’s what Mr. Mack had to say…
The new Police Administration Building represents the new Los Angeles Police Department, the new L.A., and Chief William Parker represented the old L.A.P.D. which was a brutal racist L.A.P.D. And frankly, it’s a slap in the face to the African-American community in my opinion for Chief Parks of all people having served in the L.A.P.D. and having I’m sure at some point early in his career having encountered some racism. Chief William Parker represented the worst in the L.A.P.D. His era was probably the most brutal and racist and we need to get past that. It’s a new day the new Police Administration Building should reflect that by not having it tied to the bad old days of the L.A.P.D. We need to look to the future.
On the issue of accusations from Councilman Parks that the Police Commission was trying to pull a fast one over the Council by instructing the Building o Engineering to leave of Parker’s name on the new building…
That’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely untrue and it’s just wrong. I strongly disagree with Chief Parks. It wasn’t a matter of trying to sneak anything by anybody. For that matter, there are a number of big cities with police headquarters that are not named after anybody. New York for example, it’s not named after a person. The same thing is true with Chicago and several others. We should not feel duty bound to continue that tradition which frankly represented the worst—the worst in L.A.P.D. It’s bad history. It’s old history. It’s a new day with the L.A.P.D. I would hope that Councilman Parks would recognize that and be able to move past some of his personal animosity towards Chief Bratton and the L.A.P.D.
Ultimately, the final authority does rest with the City Council. I recognize that and certainly, the Police Commission recognizes that. But I think that the City Council should, in the very least, welcome and request input certainly from the Police Commission. I might point out that on two previous situations since I’ve been on the Police Commission, for example, the Southwest Precinct which is named after Homer Broomes, one of the pioneering African-American police officers—Councilmember Councilmember personally reached out to the Police Commission and me to invite both our input and our support. So I find it rather interesting that he’s talking about somebody’s trying to sneak something past the City Council. To my knowledge he didn’t reach out to the Police Commission to seek our input or our thinking or recommendations regarding the new Police Administration Building. I think that certainly the Police Commission should have an opportunity to share its thoughts and recommendations regarding the new naming of a new police facility. And for that matter I think it would probably be appropriate given the situation, for the City Council to hold a public hearing and invite comments from the public and the community.
Next on my list are Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Jan Perry, and of course–Chief William Bratton himself. Stay tuned…one way or another we’ll get to the bottom of this madness.