Chief Williams was the first African-American ever to serve as chief of police for the Los Angeles Police Department, and really become a central part of the healing process in the weeks, months and years following the Rodney King Riots of 1992.
As founder of Operation HOPE, also founded in the backdrop of the Rodney King Riots, and a then member of the RLA (Rebuild LA) Board of Directors, I worked closely with the chief and his team. I even became an LAPD Specialist Reserve Police Officer under Chief Williams for a time, using the power of brainpower, not gunpowder, to solve many of the problems and challenges we found that were facing the city at that time.
Chief Williams does not get the credit he deserves for ‘stepping into the gap’ of change back then, but I hope that we stop now, to pay our respects. And to say ‘thank you.’ A personal and heartfelt condolences is sent from the Operation HOPE family, and my family, to the family of Chief Willie Williams today. Here is a story on his passing.
John Hope Bryant, Founder, Operation HOPE