All captions by Radley Balko.
Photo from Getty Images.
Daryl Gates, then an inspector with the Los Angeles Police Department, had been cooking up an idea for an elite team of police specialists trained in military tactics to respond to emergency situations like riots, active shooters, bank robberies, and hostage situations. The idea hadn’t been received warmly by Chief William Parker and other higher-ups at the LAPD, who were wary of allowing civilian police officers to engage in military tactics. After Parker died of aneurysm, Gates was given the green light by new chief Thomas Reddin.
Gates’ first opportunity to use this new “SWAT Team” came after an altercation between police and armed militants at a Black Panther holdout. The country’s first SWAT raid was a logistical nightmare as the LAPD and the Black Panthers exchanged thousands of rounds of gunfire. But somehow, no one was killed.