Federal court oversight of the LAPD that was agreed to in a consent decree nine years ago "has been a resounding success, and it should at last be allowed to expire," the L.A. Times said in a Sunday editorial.
When the decree was first agreed to, public confidence in the LAPD was exhausted (morale, incidentally, was at rock bottom as well). The King beating had exacerbated racial tensions -- almost as shocking as the brutality caught on tape was that none of the officers who witnessed it bothered to report what they'd seen. The department displayed indecision, even cowardice, during the 1992 riots. The Rampart scandal added corruption to the LAPD's litany of public offenses. Today, by contrast, more than 80% of Los Angeles residents believe the LAPD is doing a good or excellent job. Use of force is declining. Crime is dropping. The department, once overwhelmingly white and male, is dramatically diversified.
The Times argues that getting U.S. District Judge Gary Feess out of the LAPD oversight business will allow the post-riot Christopher Commission reforms to finally take over. On that point, you might be interested in ex-chief Daryl F. Gates telling Times columnist Patt Morrison his view that the Christopher Commission was a fraud.
Gates on LAT: Gates was no fan of the Los Angeles Times during his stormy years as chief, but he told Morrison he still reads it every day, if wistfully:
This was a world-class newspaper, and I see it now and it's just very sad. But I get it, and I read it every day.