L.A. Councilman Calls on Chief to Resign

CITY Councilman Michael Woo, breaking a City Hall silence, has called on Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates to resign. The announcement came on the same day that the embattled chief announced a plan to restore public confidence in city's police force.

Mr. Woo, who said Gates is ``no longer capable of providing moral leadership'' and should step aside, was the first City Council member to urge the chief's resignation in the aftermath of the videotaped March 3 police beating of Rodney King.

Although other City Council members have repeatedly suggested in the last few days the Police Department would be better off without Mr. Gates, they have carefully sidestepped questions about his resignation. Woo said his position is based on extensive talks with constituents.

Mayor Tom Bradley, who has said that ``in order for the healing process to effectively begin, there must be a retirement of the chief,'' plans to appoint his own committee of professionals to review police policies and procedures.

Meanwhile, Gates, steadfast in his assertion that he will not step down, announced the formation of a five-member independent panel to be headed by former state Supreme Court Justice John Arguelles. The panel will study the department's use-of-force training and procedures, and will determine whether the department's training program needs to be restructured.

Mr. King has filed an $83 million claim against the city for the injuries he suffered. And the four officers charged in the incident have all pleaded not guilty.

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