Daryl Gates' real legacy

David Cay Johnston won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the U.S. tax system for the New York Times. Before the NYT, he covered Daryl Gates and the Los Angeles Police Department for the L.A. Times. In a visiting blogger post for LA Observed, Johnston recalls his stories that uncovered an international spying operation run by Gates that spied on L.A. leaders and political groups, infiltrated groups using sex and undercover operatives, incited violent acts and tried to intimidate reporters such as Johnston. He also writes about the seven times his car was burglarized, including in the LAPD garage, and the story that the L.A. Times wouldn't run. Read the whole thing

Some excerpts:

There were undercover officers assigned to sleep with women to gather political information that went to Gates, who spent 45 minutes to several hours each week on his spy files...

I had my cars broken into seven times, once when my Fiat Spyder was parked in the underground garage at Parker Center, the LAPD headquarters. All were smooth jobs - no broken windows or pry marks. All of these burglaries had a common feature: every scrap of paper was taken...What was never taken was the money....

He asked me, in the crude language of cops, if I liked women with red hair and large bosoms. Sure, I said, what guy doesn't?...Gates began recounting to me a blind date I had been on a few nights before, down to the details of what we ordered at LA Nicola on Sunset near East Hollywood.

Also: My KCRW commentary for the week talks about the Gates legacy and his death as a learning moment. The piece airs at 4:44 p.m. and will be online shortly afterward at KCRW.com.

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