Police Commission condemns councilman’s ‘Osama’ remark aimed at police chief

By Louinn Lota The Associated Press
Wednesday October 31, 2001

LOS ANGELES — The Police Commission on Tuesday condemned a city councilman’s reference to Police Chief Bernard C. Parks as “Osama bin Parks.” 

“On Sept. 11, Chief Parks led the Los Angeles Police Department in assessing the threat of imminent danger from terrorist attacks and deploying city resources for the public good,” a commission statement said. 

“To compare him to a murderous madman like Osama bin Laden at a time of national crisis is insulting and offensive. The board of the Los Angeles Police Commission would like to state for the record that the chief does not deserve this type of vilification.” 

Third District Councilman Dennis P. Zine said Tuesday that Parks has not accepted his Oct. 22 apology, in which he wrote: “I would like to apologize. During a lighthearted fund-raising event, I made reference to your name and that of ’Osama.’ I did not intend any ridicule to you or your position as chief of police.” 

Zine was an LAPD officer for 33 years and a police union official before he was elected to the City Council this year. He has been a longtime critic of Parks, who has been on the force for 36 years. 

A Zine spokeswoman asserted last week that the councilman’s remark was a joke among a few friends. 

The remark came amid a flap involving the Police Department’s refusal to allow officers to wear any American flag lapel pins on their uniforms other than an approved pin honoring the DARE national anti-drug program. 

On Tuesday, the chief reaffirmed his refusal to accept Zine’s apology. 

“He should apologize to the 6,000 families who lost loved ones during the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s who Councilman Zine should apologize to,” Parks said at a news conference on an unrelated subject.