Was Darrel Gates responsible for the LA riots?
There were many factors that led to the LA riots of 1992. An official investigation by FBI Director William Webster did place a significant amount of blame on Daryl Gates, the chief of police at the time, and the entire LAPD.
Critics stated that even when Gates knew that a verdict would be coming down in the Rodney King case, that the day shift officers were sent home and extra forces were not placed in hot spots of the city. Critics also believe that the police presence in the early stages of the riots was almost non-existent.
The Webster Commission noted that there were no contingency plans by the city and aid was not quickly requested from nearby cities, as LAPD did not have the manpower to adequately deal with the riots.
The direct spark of the riots occurred when 4 LAPD officers were acquitted of excessive force in the video-taped beating of Rodney King. Daryl Gates died at the age of 83 from bladder cancer. Rodney King died at the age of 47. He was found at the bottom of his pool by his fiancé. An autopsy still needs to be performed, but police say there was no appearance of foul play, or drugs or alcohol.