on Ed Davis…

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Legendary former LAPD chief Ed Davis passed away this weekend at the age of 89. Davis was a visionary in his day, and apparently some of his ideas are still drawn upon by many police forces around the country. He was also very outspoken, and was at the forefront of the news back then. According to this AP article in the Washington Post:

He led the LAPD through some of the most high-profile and shocking cases of the 1960s and ’70s, announcing on Dec. 1, 1969, the arrest of Charles Manson.”

Known for his controversial statements, in 1972 Davis suggested reinstating the death penalty in California to punish airline hijackers.

“I recommend we have a portable gallows, and after we have the death penalty back in, we conduct a rapid trial for a hijacker out there and hang him with due process out there at the airport,” Davis said.

The proposal earned him the nickname “Hang ‘Em High Ed.”


Miles Corwin’s article over at the LA Times also tells the story of a man way ahead of his time:

In 1980, Davis was elected as a state senator representing the conservative 19th District, which encompassed suburban sections of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. During Davis’ first few years in the Senate, he fulfilled his law-and-order campaign pledges and introduced bills to expand the powers of law enforcement officers and increase the scope of the death penalty.

But Davis was too much of a maverick to slavishly stick to party orthodoxy. He denounced the religious wing of the Republican Party and voted for a gay-protection bill. One Republican critic denounced him as “the Legislature’s leading crusader for homosexual rights.”

Davis died in San Luis Obispo from complications due to pneumonia. Sounds like we lost a really good man.