L.A. pays final respects to former LAPD chief

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES Gates died of cancer on April 16 at the age of 83.

There was a closed-coffin visitation at the new downtown LAPD headquarters Monday, and hundreds of people visited the casket in the auditorium to pay their last respects to Daryl Gates.

"He created the SWAT teams back in the 80s, and I do want to respect the man," said Marine Pfc. Eric Romealo, who said he was only 2 year old when Gates was chief.

"After being the chief for fourteen years, you begin to blend in with your organization and one becomes the other, and I think that in modern history he's the only chief that has been able to do that," said current LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Donna Stone's brother-in-law was a police officer under Gates when he got terminal cancer. Gates came to visit the young patrolman several times.

"Ever since then, we just loved him dearly because the man really cared about his officers and the people that worked for him," said Stone.

Gates was also known around the world.

"I knew him when I was about 15 some years old back in Pakistan. He is a man who is known in mnay communities for the things that he has done," said LAPD Chaplain Shaykh Qazi Assad.

Gates became the mentor for former Deputy Chief Mark Hillman.

"Tremendously good experience to work for him. He was a tremendous leader. You may have not agreed with him, and he was controversial, but he was somebody who was very supportive of doing the right thing," said Hillman.

A funeral for Gates is scheduled for 9a.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Thousands of officers from the LAPD and other departments are expected to join civic and political leaders for final services. The funeral will begin with a procession from the LAPD Administration Building to the cathedral several blocks away.

Gates was known as a "cop's cop" who backed his officers even when there were allegations of abuse and corruption. He earned praise for transforming the LAPD and took criticism for his handling of the 1992 riots.

Gates joined the department in 1949 and former chief William Parker became a mentor to Gates after he was asked to serve as a bodyguard and driver to the chief.

Gates' career came under the most criticism after the video-taped police beating of Rodney King. Gates had already announced his retirement when the police officers were acquitted in the beating. Riots broke out in Los Angeles, and 55 people died in six days of rioting that cost about a billion dollars in property damages.

Tuesday's funeral will be closed to the public.

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