LAPD demotes a top cop


first_imgThe top-ranking commanding officer at the scene of the May 1 clash at an immigration rally was demoted Monday by Chief William Bratton, who renewed vows of a speedy, open investigation into the MacArthur Park altercation. Deputy Chief Caylor “Lee” Carter, a 33-year veteran who was head of Central Division and oversaw 1,700 officers, was demoted to commander and assigned indefinitely to home duty, Bratton said. Carter’s second-in-command at the scene, Cmdr. Louis Gray, was being reassigned to the Operations Bureau. He’s been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 40 years. “I have to be comfortable with the leadership around me,” said Bratton, who declined to state the specific reasons for the moves. “This is a personnel decision; this is not a disciplinary action.” Appearing with Bratton at a City Hall news conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Bratton acted decisively to send a message to the city and to all LAPD officers. “True leadership shows itself in tough times and Bill Bratton is demonstrating it,” Villaraigosa said. Carter and Gray could not be reached for comment. The action capped a week of apologies from the LAPD over the MacArthur Park confrontation, sparked when a group of 30 to 40 “agitators” disrupted the immigration rally and threw rocks and bottles at police officers. Seven officers and eight participants were injured during the fracas. Several journalists covering the event also were hurt. Four inquiries are being conducted, including one by the FBI. Villaraigosa and Bratton reiterated that the the myriad probes will examine officers who used force, as well as their commanders. “I have heard that the department has a history of doing that, and all I can tell you is that this will be a thorough, thoughtful, comprehensive investigation,” said Bratton, who may address the Police Commission today on his bid for a second, five-year term. When he took the helm of the department in 2002, he shook up the command staff, replacing it with those who adhered to his agenda of transparency. “We will cooperate fully with the (Los Angeles Police) Protective League and turn over all the videos and information we get before any disciplinary action is taken. “This is not a rush to judgment. We all saw the videos and they were disturbing. Something went wrong. But we are going to look at all the evidence before any disciplinary action is taken,” he said. Over the weekend, Bratton pulled 60 officers involved in the melee off the streets. In a meeting with members of Platoon B – one of the elite Metropolitan Division squads trained for violence suppression and crowd control – Bratton also assured them due process would be followed. “Each officer who used force, we will do what we always do, ask them to explain their use of force, what was the threat they felt they were facing that required them to use force,” Bratton said. “There is no doubt that the actions are hurting. The images being portrayed around the world are not the most flattering,” Bratton said. “My responsibility is to serve as the person that has to impose discipline.” But criticism is emerging within the ranks that Bratton’s emphasis on gang suppression has compromised the platoon and left the department inadequately trained in crowd control. “I have never seen such a decline in training in the 12 years that I have been there,” said a Metropolitan Division officer who asked not to be named because he said the unit was ordered not to talk to the media. “It was failure of training. There were young police officers out there. There was a breakdown.” Villaraigosa continued to give his support to Bratton, who is up for a second five-year term, saying he believed it was a breakdown in the command structure. “This is a law enforcement professional, make no mistake,” Villaraigosa said in an interview with CNN. “He’s turned around five police departments and has been successful in reforming the LAPD, abiding by the federal consent decree.” Villaraigosa said he wanted a full report on the May Day events to quell controversy and answer the questions so many have about the police response. “I intend to make sure we get to the bottom of this, that we hold people accountable and that we have an open and transparent investigation,” Villaraigosa said, adding that the videos of the confrontation have left a “painful, searing” image of Los Angeles. Also as part of the ongoing inquiries, City Council President Eric Garcetti on Monday announced he was forming a special task force of council members to monitor the investigations. Councilmen Jack Weiss and Ed Reyes will serve as co-chairs of the panel to provide a public forum for review of the separate investigations that are under way. “The task force will allow the council and the public to monitor the progress of the investigation and provide an extra layer of oversight,” Weiss said. It will hear the updated status of investigations and develop policy recommendations for police response to future demonstrations. Other members of the panel include council members Wendy Greuel, Jan Perry and Jose Huizar. Officials said they expect the panel to hold its first meeting this week. [email protected] (818) 713-3741160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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