Eleven police chiefs from across the country held a summit meeting to draft a new code of police ethics following the highly publicized beating of a motorist by Los Angeles police.
The chiefs said the Los Angeles case gave police everywhere a black eye but could prove to be beneficial by marking a turning point for law enforcement practices nationwide."The police brutality pictured in the Los Angeles situation has outraged us all," said New York City Police Commissioner Lee Brown, who called the chiefs together.
"In years to come, it will be viewed as a landmark in the history of American law enforcement, in that it will hasten changes in policing, already begun, that will ensure that such situations do not repeat themselves."
Brown said the chiefs had to make their voices heard in the national debate over police brutality that has raged since the videotaped Los Angeles beating.
"We recognize that, as chiefs of police, we are ultimately responsible for the actions of our officers," he said, reading a joint statement released by the group.
"The problem of excessive force in American policing is real," he said. "Regardless of its cause, it cannot be condoned and must be actively countered by concerned police professionals.
"Residents of our cities have a right to expect that we will act in a manner free of unwarranted force with a commitment to constitutional principles. Clearly, the police cannot violate the law in order to enforce it," the commissioner said.