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Garcetti urged to pick black candidate for LAPD chief

By Dennis J. Freeman

Contributing Writer

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A church leader and a community activist are urging Mayor Eric Garcetti to appoint San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott to replace Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

Scott, who spent 27 years as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department before becoming chief in San Francisco in January 2017, is one of three finalists selected by the Los Angeles Police Commission to replace Beck, who is retiring June 27.

Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope and the Rev. Kelvin Sauls of Holman United Methodist Church held a press conference May 14 urging Garcetti to pick Scott over Deputy Chief Robert Arcos and LAPD First Assistant Chief Michel Moore.

“Chief Scott is someone who is loved and respected in South Los Angeles,” Ali said at Holman United Methodist Church. “He’s worked for decades with the activists and community members trying to make a difference in South Los Angeles. For us, we’re not against the other candidates, we just believe that Chief Scott is the most experienced at running a major city. He’s done a great job in San Francisco.”

Sauls said Scott would be the ideal candidate to deal to move the LAPD into a more positive direction.

“We come together to urge Mayor Garcetti to seriously consider Bill Scott because we believe that Bill Scott has the necessary cultural competency and the ability for a time like this to lead the Los Angeles Police Department into 21st century strategies in community-focused policing with dignity and integrity and transparency,” Sauls said. “He has and brings the needed leadership that we need right now during these consequential times to lead this police department to be what it can be.”

Garcetti is expected to announce his choice to replace Beck, who announced his plans to retire in January, in early June. The City Council will have to approve his selection.

The Police Commission earlier this month selected the three finalists for the position search to replace Beck from a field of 31 applicants.

“Chief Scott has the temperament and the ability to be a bridge-builder,” Ali said. “So we believe he has the leadership to at least meet with disgruntled community members, Black Lives Matter and other groups that the current chief would not meet with.”

Ali and Sauls followed their press conference with a letter to Garcetti.

“We believe Scott can help bridge the gap between disenchanted community residents and activists,” the letter said. “Scott is the type of leader who will boost morale in the LAPD, which he knows in and out, but also continue to push for community engagement. Our diverse coalition strongly urges you not to be swayed by racial politics but choose Chief Scott, who we believe is the best candidate with decades of experience within the LAPD and the only finalist to have actually led a Police Department in a major city.”

Scott was the deputy chief of the LAPD South Bureau when he was selected to lead the San Francisco Police Department.