James T. Butts, Jr.

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James T. Butts, Jr. (born August 1, 1953) is an American politician and former police chief who is the mayor of the California city of Inglewood.[1][2][3]

Police career[edit]

Before becoming mayor of Inglewood in 2011, Butts had a long and sometimes contentious[4] career in law enforcement. From 1991 to 2006, he served as chief of the police department of Santa Monica, California.[5][6] He was the head of security for the Los Angeles World Airports[6] where, according to one source, he did a "fine job",[7] although a second source suggested there were complaints of favoritism by Butts towards African-American officers.[8] He served as Inglewood deputy chief of police.[6] During his career, he had to contend with tough issues, such as issues relating to homelessness as well as gang violence, which sometimes resulted in contentious relations with community members. There were allegations that police violated the "constitutional rights of chronically homeless people" with unlawful arrests and harassment,[9][10] sometimes failing to observe the Miranda requirements while making arrests[11] as well as forcefully interrogating suspects after they had requested a lawyer.[12][13] The dispute erupted into a decade-long legal battle, with Butts named as a defendant,[14][15] with a decision that "police interrogation after a suspect has requested an attorney or invoked his or her right to remain silent violates a person's rights under Miranda", upheld by the Supreme Court.[16] Butts' "hands on"[5] management style towards gangs and gang-related violence sometimes resulted in tense relations with journalists[17] as well as community activists, such as Steven Luciano[18] and Oscar de la Torre.[19] In an editorial in the Santa Monica Mirror in 2011, Torre accused Butts and the Santa Monica police department of "bias, bigotry, and sham investigations."[19] In 2013, as mayor of Inglewood, Butts introduced an ordinance allowing Inglewood police to use injunctions against gang violence.[20] He also advocated workshops to promote dialogue between police and community members.[21]

Political career[edit]

In 2011, Butts was elected mayor of Inglewood.[22] His state of the city address in April, 2011 focused on fiscal solvency, public safety, and city leadership, according to one source.[23] He was described by several sources as an important figure in the revival of the The Forum, a concert venue and arena in Inglewood, renovated in part by the Madison Square Garden Company.[24][25][26]


  1. ^ Olu Alemoru, October 10, 2012, Wave Newspapers, Space Shuttle Endeavour's final mission, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013 “...And Inglewood Mayor James Butts..”
  2. ^ Thomas Bunn, May 9, 2013, Inglewood Today, FCBC Hosts Immigration Workshop, Accessed Sept. 16, 2013
  3. ^ Veronica Mackey, May 2, 2013, Inglewood Today, Butts ‘State of the City’ Well Received, Sept. 16, 2013
  4. ^ Randall Fleming, 27 August 2013, CityWatch LA, Is Inglewood Mayor Behind Threats to Newspaper?, Accessed Sept. 23, 2013, “...James T. Butts, launched an unprovoked verbal attack on the publisher and editor-in-chief of a newspaper...”
  5. ^ a b Santa Monica Daily Press, Ashley Archibald, August 6, 2012, New chief offers view on policing Santa Monica, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...Speaking of your style of management, former Police Chief James Butts was very hands-on...”
  6. ^ a b c January 10, 2011, Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, Longtime politician and retired police chief vie for Inglewood mayor, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013
  7. ^ Betty Pleasant, Sept. 29, 2010, Wave Newspapers, The Soulvine: A word on Butts, Accessed Sept. 23, 2013, “...as deputy executive director of L.A. World Airports, ... James Butts ... came and he did a fine job...”
  8. ^ Victoria Kim, Sept. 16, 2010, The Los Angeles Times, Lawsuit alleges discrimination against white officers by L.A. Airport Police: One current and two former officers claim that blacks on the force received preferential treatment, Accessed Sept. 23, 2013, “...suit ... alleges that black officers were promoted over whites despite receiving lower scores on promotional exams and that white officers were disciplined more harshly for misconduct compared with black officers facing similar accusations... The lawsuit alleged that former airport security Chief James Butts Jr. requested a list of officers with their ethnicities after a 2007 test for sergeant promotions and "manipulated" the rankings so that more black officers would be promoted....”
  9. ^ Santa Monica Daily Press, October 5, 2009, City Hall responds to ACLU lawsuit, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013
  10. ^ Santa Monica Daily Press, June 14, 2010, ACLU lawsuit a blunder and a waste, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...The ACLU ballyhooed its ill-advised complaint at a splashy press conference at City Hall last July when it accused the city and the police department of violating the constitutional rights of chronically homeless people by arresting and harassing them.... the complaint was riddled with errors, spurious facts and tortured reasoning....”
  11. ^ Jim Newton of the Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1995, Seattle Times, Suit: Police Snub Miranda Warning -- LAPD Said To Ignore Silence Right, Accessed Sept. 19, 2013, “...Named as defendants in the complaint are Santa Monica Police Chief James Butts, Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams, four police officers and the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles....”
  12. ^ December 21, 1995, The New York Times, 2 California Police Departments Often Violate Rights, Suit Says, Accessed Sept. 23, 2013, “...Santa Monica Police Departments of routinely and intentionally violating Miranda rights ... Chief James Butts of Santa Monica are among the defendants. ... anecdotal evidence from criminal defense lawyers indicated that the problem was pervasive in California.... ...Santa Monica detectives ... showed that law-enforcement officials pressured Mr. McNally to talk even after he requested a lawyer....”
  13. ^ Associated Press, RecordNet, December 21, 1995, L.A., Santa Monica police cited in suit, Accessed Sept. 23, 2013, “...routinely pressuring suspects to talk without a lawyer present after they have invoked Miranda, the suit contends. ... Named as defendants were Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams, Santa Monica Police Chief James Butts...”
  14. ^ United States District Court, C.D. California, April 10, 1996, Leagle, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEYS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE v. BUTTSNo. CV 95-8634-ER(JGx)., Accessed Sept. 20, 2013
  15. ^ Berkeley Law School, 2004 Stories, July 7, 2004, Speaking Out on Miranda: Supreme Court Decision Caps Decade-Long Effort, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013
  16. ^ Human Rights Watch, United States, Human Rights Watch, (see page 34), Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...In California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) v. Butts, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a federal court in Los Angeles that police interrogation after a suspect has requested an attorney or invoked his or her right to remain silent violates a person's rights under Miranda....”
  17. ^ Randall Fleming, 27 August 2013, CityWatch LA, Inglewood’s Mayor Butts Tossed from Town Hall Meeting, Sept. 23, 2013, “...James T. Butts hurriedly entered the room, threw a large box full of DVDs on the moderator’s table and jumped in front of residents awaiting their turn at the mic to ask a question... Butts was escorted out...”
  18. ^ V. James DeSimone, 2011, Santa Monica Mirror, Steven Luciano: Dedicated to the Community, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...Instead of using the incident to create a dialogue with the school board, the Santa Monica Police Department made unfounded accusations against Mr. Luciano. Police Chief Butts wrote a letter,...”
  19. ^ a b Oscar de la Torre, Feb. 27, 2011, Santa Monica Mirror, Guest Editorial: Oscar de la Torre Tells His Side of the Story, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...In 1998, fearing negative publicity, then-Chief of Police James T. Butts (now Inglewood’s mayor) sent police officers to convince me..”
  20. ^ Veronica Mackey, February 7, 2013, Inglewood Today News, Councilman Opposes Inglewood Gang Injunctions, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013
  21. ^ News staff, 13 April 2005, Santa Monica Mirror, Workshop Focuses on Steps to Quell Gang Violence, Accessed Sept. 20, 2013, “...At the workshop, Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts told the Mirror he felt the workshops were a positive step...”
  22. ^ Sentinel Staff, 27 January 2011, LA Sentinel, James Butts, Mayor-Elect of Inglewood, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013
  23. ^ Sentinel News Service, 03 April 2011, LA Sentinel, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. Gives State of the City Address - See more at: http://lasentinel.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2565:inglewood-mayor-james-t-butts-jr-gives-state-of-the-city-address&catid=80&Itemid=170#sthash.pQZCLvzY.dpuf, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013
  24. ^ KENNETH MILLER, Sentinel Managing Editor, 01 August 2013, LA Sentinel, MSG Banking $100 Million The Forum Will Be Fabulous Again, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013
  25. ^ Sentinel News Service, 28 February 2013, LA Sentinel, Local workers at Inglewood Forum with Mayor Butts, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013
  26. ^ Yussuf J. Simmonds, 16 May 2012, LA Sentinel, Mayor Butts has Inglewood on the move!, Accessed Sept. 17, 2013

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