LA Police Chief Bill Bratton Endorses Gay Marriage

L.A. Police Chief Bill Bratton and his wife Rikki Klieman (former Court TV anchor and a good friend of mine) have pulled out their checkbook and donated to the group fighting the effort to ban gay marriage on the November ballot in California.
"The Constitution guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Bratton said this week. "I see no reason why gays can't pursue happiness through marriage."
The donation came about when their friends, celebrity publicist Howard Bragman and his longtime partner, Chuck O'Donnell, told them they were getting married. Bill and Rikki asked what they'd like as a gift.
Bragman was direct: No gifts -- instead, make a donation to Equality California to help stop Prop. 8. And please make it public.
All of TalkLeft's coverage of Bill Bratton is assembled here. In 2002, I attended his swearing in ceremony in L.A. and wrote this lengthy report.

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    Bill Bratton (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:37:25 PM EST
    is a visionary and one of the world's Good Guys.  It's a damn shame Giuliani ran him out of NYC, and one of the biggest, most obvious strikes against Rudy's judgment.

    Bobby Sherman is an LA police officer????!!   Jeez, I had all his records when I was a kid.

    I had to look him up (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:46:36 PM EST
    because I thought he had been here (I'm in the midst of Valentine products, so brain is a bit vacant).

    And my reaction to Bobby Sherman was the same as yours, lol!~  He definitely wasn't one of the LAPD that pointed guns at me . . . (1983 and no, I wasn't doing anything wrong!)


    So tell the story already! (none / 0) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:56:18 PM EST
    Don't leave us in suspenders, as Groucho or somebody used to say.

    Bratton was in Boston for a while, too, and totally revitalized the dept. with community policing, which was new and revolutionary at the time, but got seduced into going to NY (wasn't he chief transit cop there initially?) before he'd been in Boston very long.


    4th of July (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:20:08 AM EST
    2 friends* picked me up from work and we drove down to the Pier to watch the fireworks. Came home directly after. Right by the street we lived on, got pulled over because a taillight was out. They demanded we got out of the car, which we did. Talk about the taillight and then they asked for ID. I reached into the car's open window to grab my purse. Before you could blink an eye I had flashlights and guns pointed at me and I was being told to "FREEZE!". So not good for the nervous system. Obviously, I didn't know the rules when LAPD (back then?) asks for ID!

    * 2 friends = one clean cut law student and his equally clean cut BF and me (all of 5'5' and 105lbs) dressed in fairly conservative work clothes. WTF?!

    Yeah, Bratton was transit before commish here. he did a back and forth between Boston and NYC. Wiki info is interesting regarding Rudy.

    In 1994, William Bratton was appointed the 38th Commissioner of the NYPD by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He had success in this position, and introduced the CompStat system of tracking crimes, which proved successful in reducing crime in New York City and is still used to this day. A new tax surcharge enabled the training and deployment of around 5,000 new better-educated police officers, police decision-making was devolved to precinct level, and a backlog of 50,000 unserved warrants was cleared. The CompStat real-time police intelligence computer system was effectively introduced and integrated. Police numbers were further boosted in 1995 when New York's housing and transit police were merged into the New York Police Department. Bratton left the job in 1996 after alleged personal conflicts with Giuliani, partly due to Giuliani's opposition to some of Bratton's reforms, and the belief held by Giuliani that Bratton was getting more credit for the reduction in crime than he was.

    Oh, man (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:55:19 AM EST
    I had one of those experiences once, and it's scary as heck being on the business end of a cop on the alert.  Friend of mine and I were Boston Celtics season ticket holders for a few years back in the day.  One year when the Celts were in the finals, my friend and I were coming back from a losing game, contemplating the fact that I would have to be at my college roommate's wedding when the next crucial game was played.

    My friend remembered seeing small portable TVs that could be plugged into a car's cigarette lighter in a nearby store, so at midnight or so, we pulled into the strip mall and up to the storefront window.  My friend put the lights on her little sports car on high-beam so we could see the stuff on display in the window.  As we talked over the pros and cons of the car-TV idea, we were suddenly surrounded by two cars full of very tense cops ordering us to get out of the car with our hands up NOW.

    They didn't pull guns, thank goodness, but we had a hard time explaining this somewhat complicated and not very believable story to explain what we were doing apparently casing the electronics store in the dead of night, made harder because we kept laughing at the preposterousness of our story, and the cops didn't appreciate that at all, at all.  They finally decided we were just too goofy to be potential crooks and told us to get out of there and never do anything so stupid again.

    As for Bratton, it was very clear at the time that Rudy ditched him because he was getting too much personal publicity.  Bratton is not shy about touting himself to the press, but Rudy couldn't stand the least bit of competition.


    yeah, the business end of cops (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 02:29:28 AM EST
    sucks when you're just going about your day or night with nothing "criminal" in mind. I had dealt with cops before, but was always given the positive slant by them. Mostly, I reminded them of their daughters, as did most of my friends (late high school), and we got "talking to" advice from them. The guns totally wrecked me in this situation, along with it being my first "situation" in years. I can totally see your situation happening. Oy.

    Luckily, I've avoided too much conflict. Or had smart friends around me when the cops made sexist remarks towards me (1990) and I went all pissed towards them. Yeah, NYPD could (can?) be a tad rude towards women. And yes my back went all up and I reminded them they were working for me . .  . . lol!~ Thankfully, the cops cruising my 'hood these days are more than appreciated. They watch out for me when I'm out with my dog at ALL hours (think 4AM) and have been nothing but respectful over the years I've been here. My Landlord is actually a retired NYPD detective.

    Dawg forbid anyone steal Rudy's thunder! I can't tell you how glad many of us are that he failed at his run for President. I was SO dreading if he did well. That is one ego that needs to be stopped. And I will be supporting his challenger for Gov if he runs. And I won't even be living here.


    Here's a picture (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:54:23 PM EST
    Oh, my gawd (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:58:59 PM EST
    Well, points to Bobby Sherman.  Even when I was a kid, he was definitely a guilty pleasure.  I'd like to think I liked him because I sensed something deeper in him than your average teen pop idol-- but nah.  Good on him!  Probably the last pop star I'd have expected to do something like that after his career started to fade.



    Actually (none / 0) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:59:45 PM EST
    these days, my taste runs more to Mickey than Bobby...

    he's taken though (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:04:13 AM EST
    he's married to Fox Legal Analyst Lis Wiehl.  But you can watch him on CBS's Early Morning Show -- he does their legal analysis.

    Didn't know that's who he was (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 01:00:05 AM EST
    married to.  She's a gorgeous woman.

    I'm not getting up for The Early Show even for Mickey Sherman, though, since I work nights!

    I have eclectic tastes in unavailable men, though, ranging from Seiji Ozawa through Mickey to the 16-year-old farm kid who mows my lawn.


    But Bobby looks pretty good! (none / 0) (#9)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:05:32 AM EST
    Of course, he is in LA, lol!~

    And Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) (none / 0) (#20)
    by BernieO on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 07:43:26 AM EST
    was also an LAPD officer for 18 years! He was a motorcycle cop for awhile and said that when he pulled people over they were often flabbergasted. How bad is it that you are being reprimanded by Eddie Haskell.
    He also worked vice and narcotics.

    I live a couple of hundred feet. . , (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 05:34:06 AM EST
    from the precinct formerly known as the "Dirty 30".  One of Bratton's first actions on being appointed NYC Police Commissioner was to go there in broad day light and personally arrest a number of corrupt cops.  They marched them out of the building in front of TV cameras and the jeers of people from the neighborhood (not me, I didn't live here yet).

    William Bratton is one of the good guys.  He deserves a lot of the credit for "cleaning up New York" and for beginning the rapprochement (not always smooth in the years after he was commissioner) between the police and the people of the city -- at least, the city's minority populations.

    Hiring him was the one good thing Giuliani did.

    Good for him! (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by otherlisa on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 11:40:24 AM EST
    Bill Bratton does seem like one of the good guys. Turning the LAPD culture around is a tough tough job but it looks like he's making some progress.

    I was similarly heartened when San Diego Mayor Jerry Saunders, whom I do not care for, came out in favor of gay marriage.

    The times they are changing, indeed.

    Good to hear (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 11:47:32 PM EST

    Harry Bosch and Michael Connelly think well of him (none / 0) (#10)
    by jerry on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:09:54 AM EST
    For what it's worth, I just finised "The Closers" by Michael Connelly and the new Chief is clearly Bill Bratton without being named.  And Harry Bosch seems to think he is all right.

    I love LA Detective stories -- frequently teaches me the history and surroundings of my city.

    Harry Bosch might not outwardly approve of TalkLeft, but I am sure he'd be a fan deep down.

    Offtopic: Jeralyn what do defense attorneys think (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by jerry on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:15:38 AM EST
    of detective fiction?

    Jeralyn, maybe you could do a post on defense attorney recommended detective fiction, if there is such a thing.

    Fictional detectives often:
    *) bend rules and break laws
    *) find the actual bad guy
    *) protect the innocent

    What detectives, if any, are on the "typical" defense attorney short list?


    ok, I'll think on it (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 01:50:11 AM EST
    But they won't be cop detective books, I don't read those. Maybe defense attorney/investigator books.

    That would be intesting! (none / 0) (#17)
    by EL seattle on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 02:04:21 AM EST
    I'm sure that there's some really interesting lit out there that's outside the giant shadow cast by the Perry Mason/Paul Drake teaming.  It would be great to know which writers are enjoyed by folks who work in this field, and what sort of stuff drives them totally bats.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#24)
    by jerry on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 09:44:18 AM EST
    I'm most likely about to need four weeks or so of recovery time and recently found that the far corner of "Half Price Books" has lots and lots of stuff for $2....  I randomly picked up a bunch of Turow, but I've never read any of his works apart from Ordinary Heroes which is a WWII story that involves a lawyer, but not any sort of detective story really.  (But a truly wonderful story, especially if you had any relatives fighting in Europe, and the Battle of the Bulge.)

    I'm not familiar at all with any defense attorney/investigator books so anything you could say about it would be interesting, useful, and very appreciated.


    Great idea. Jeralyn? (none / 0) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 12:46:38 AM EST
    A crime fiction reading list would be great (none / 0) (#21)
    by kempis on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 07:47:25 AM EST
    And Bill Bratton is my hero-of-the-day--with Bobby Sherman a close runner-up.

    I'm 53, have taught for over 30 years, have paid taxes, voted, and was raised by my old, Alabamian parents to be a good citizen and good neighbor. While I have no desire personally to marry anyone, I cannot describe how much it pains me to know that my country has considered me and all people like me to be second-class citizens.

    I feel profound and personal gratitude for actions like the one Bill Bratton has taken. People like him give me serious hope that the future for young gays and lesbians will be brighter.

    And how cool is it that Bobby Sherman is a cop?! Wow....He must be a pretty remarkable guy.

    RE gay marriage (none / 0) (#22)
    by BernieO on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 07:59:25 AM EST
    I once had a conversation with someone who believed that legalizing gay marriage was a threat to heterosexual marriage. I asked if she wanted to go back to the days when gay people were in the closet and said answered with an emphatic yes. So then I told her about people I know who had married someone who was desperately trying to convince everyone (themselves included) that they were straight and how devestating that had been to both of them. I also tole her that I had been seriously involved with a guy that I later learned is gay. (He was a great guy but looking back I can see how hard he worked to repress his true self. He pursued me relentlessly after we broke up and was really upset when I got married.)
    I pointed out that that was the only threat to straight marriage from homosexuality that I had ever seen and that it was a lot less likely to happen to her children now that so many younger people are not homophobic and younger gay people are much more likely to be out in the open.
    I then explained that if we destigmatize homosexuality (and legalizing marriage is a powerful step) much fewer gay people will live in denial.
    By the time we were done talking, this person had changed her mind. She told me she had never heard anyone point this out and that it made a lot of sense. (She also had a friend who had been devastated to find out her spouse was gay.) I don't get why more people don't make this case. Seems obvious to me.

    I had to do a double take.... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 09:31:30 AM EST
    a police chief waxing poetic about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

    You don't see that everyday.

    a) Recent poll has it at 50 to 42 to in favor of defeat

    b) The language was changed from "man and woman" to what it is- namely banning gay marriage so that voters will know what they are voting for

    c) Several municipalities even in conservative cities have come out against the ban

    d) there is an active effort to increase the fund raising for the campaign against the ban