Before dawn on Super Bowl Sunday, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was told that one of his officers had shot and killed the 13-year-old driver of a stolen car. So began a week that piled one test on another for Bratton, says the Los Angeles Times. The tests threatened his goals of reducing crime, reforming the Los Angeles Police Department, and improving race relations. “These are very tense times,” Bratton told the Times. “Anyone who dismisses it lightly is crazy.”
In crafting his response to the shooting, Bratton cited two goals: One was to calm public rage. People “have a right to be upset,” he said. But he also wanted to remind them that “nothing is gained by emotion leading to violent action. We have been down that road too many times in this city, and in America. It gets to nothing.” His second goal was to cast the issue as a key test of LAPD reforms enacted under a federal consent decree. Let the process work, he said, again and again. Officials have announced that L.A. will have a “day of dialogue” Feb. 26 to discuss the case and its repercussions.