Despite announced criminal indictments against four police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King, the public furor to oust Daryl Gates raged on Friday with the launch of a voter campaign to recall the embattled police chief.
Meanwhile, Mayor Tom Bradley said he personally called Gates Friday morning to "deny categorically" media reports that Bradley's chief of staff has been orchestrating Gates' ouster from behind the scenes at the behest of the mayor."I want to make it unmistakably clear with regard to the idea of Chief Gates retiring, I have had no participation, no strategy whatsoever to force, urge, or demand Chief Gates to resign or retire," Bradley told a City Hall news conference.
Bradley also denied he authorized anyone on his staff "to engage in any similar kind of conduct" in the wake of the police brutality scandal that erupted with the release of a home video of King's March 3 arrest.
The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Deputy Mayor Mark Fabiani is leading a covert campaign designed to exert so much political and public pressure on Gates that he eventually will step down from the post he has held since 1978.
Bradley also announced the appointment of liberal activist Stanley Sheinbaum to the Police Commission, which has recently began its own investigation of the beating and the Police Department's training policies and procedures.
Gates met with a group of civil rights and religious leaders for nearly 90 minutes Friday. Although he was again asked to resign, the police chief repeated he intended to fight to stay in his job.
Several community activists, including a City Council candidate, announced their plan to mount a campaign to recall the embattled chief under a little-known provision in the City Charter.
About 57,000 signatures of registered voters are need to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Civil rights lawyers at the Department of Justice are considering ways to bring federal charges against some of the officers who stood passively by during the beating, sources told the Los Angeles Times.