LOS ANGELES – Police Chief William Bratton apologized for calling a local black activist a “nitwit” and other comments he made after last month’s beating of a suspected car thief.
“I’d like to extend an apology, a sincere apology, if there is anybody in the community – or any other community for that matter – that have been offended by any of the comments and remarks I’ve made in the course of this investigation,” Bratton told radio station KJLH-FM Saturday.
TV news helicopters videotaped an LAPD officer striking 36-year-old Stanley Miller with a flashlight 11 times after Miller appeared to surrender.
Since the June 23 incident, Bratton has called a local black activist a “nitwit” and had a testy exchange with his predecessor, City Councilman Bernard Parks, who questioned his sensitivity to minorities. Parks noted Bratton’s past references to gang members as “thugs” and “terrorists.”
Bratton, who has apologized before, said his comments were not meant to offend.
“I’ll try to learn from this and find ways that people of this city, of all the races of the city, understand what’s in my heart,” he said.
Bratton has called Miller’s arrest “a mess” and said it conflicted with how officers were trained to detain suspects.
Miller’s beating has drawn comparisons to the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King, prompting state and federal investigations.
A number of community activists also expressed outrage and demanded justice.
Bratton, former police chief in New York City, took over the LAPD in October 2002.