James T. Butts, Jr.

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James T. Butts, Jr.
A headshot of James T. Butts, Jr., mayor of Inglewood, California.jpg
Butts in 2009
Born (1953-08-01) August 1, 1953 (age 61)
Education

Masters in Business Administration, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Bachelor of Science, California State University at Los Angeles
Occupation Mayor of Inglewood, California

James Butts, Jr. (born August 1, 1953) is the mayor of Inglewood, California. He rose through the ranks of law enforcement in Inglewood during the 1970s and 1980s, eventually becoming a captain. He then worked as Chief of Police in Santa Monica, California from 1991 to 2006. Butts then took a public safety position with Los Angeles World Airports in 2006. He was elected mayor of Inglewood in 2010 and led efforts that culminated in the 2013 renovation and reopening of The Forum in Inglewood as a sports and performance venue. Butts holds an MBA degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Los Angeles.[1]

Law enforcement career[edit]

James Butts joined the police force of Inglewood, California in 1972.[2] He held several roles as a police officer, commander of a SWAT team and as an undercover officer.[3] Butts was promoted to Sergeant in 1981, to Lieutenant in 1984, and then to Commanding Officer of the narcotics division in 1986. He led a team of 30 undercover agents that helped reduce drug trafficking in the Dixon-Darby and Lockhaven neighborhoods.[3] In 1986, Butts was promoted to Chief of Operations and became the first African American at that level within a South Bay, California police department.[3]

In 1991, Butts moved to Santa Monica to accept a job as the city's Chief of Police.[2] He held that position until 2006.[4] Early in his tenure in that position, Butts conducted a month-long crime assessment at the request of the city council and concluded that drug dealing and violent crime at Palisades Park could be reduced by enforcing a city ordinance against sleeping in public parks. The city ordinance had been controversial and its enforcement was opposed by city attorney Robert M. Myers, who refused to prosecute homeless people arrested for violating the ordinance.[5][6] This made it difficult for Butts to enforce the ordinance, since those arrested wouldn't be prosecuted.[7]

In 1995, he was one of five police officers named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging the police department was engaging in forceful questioning that violated Miranda rights.[8][9][10] In 2000, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the police officers were accountable for Miranda violations, despite arguments by the police officers that they qualify for immunity since they were trained that continued questioning was allowed.[11][12]

In 2006, Butts took a position as the head of security and law enforcement for Public Safety Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).[13] According to the Los Angeles Times, Butts improved training and discipline at LAWA and fostered better relationships with local law enforcement agencies.[14] Upon returning to Inglewood, he said the city's infrastructure and economy had decayed since he had left for Santa Monica.[2]

Mayor[edit]

Butts was officially elected as the mayor of Inglewood, California, on January 27, 2011. He won against incumbent Danny Tabor by a vote of 3,776 to 3,000. The Los Angeles Sentinel described it as a "tumultous year of elections" for the city, with a close race between the two candidates.[15] The city was operating at an $18 million deficit and Butts said he would overhaul the city's finances.[15] His first State of the City address focused on public safety, finances and city leadership.[16]

In December 2013, citizens protested in front of Butts' personal residence in response to expected layoffs of 50 city employees. Butts said layoffs were necessary to balance the budget, while local union representatives said the layoffs were unnecessary.[17]

According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, Butts was the "driving force" behind a renovation of Inglewood's sports stadium, The Forum,[2][18] which was approved by City Council in May 2012.[19] As a police officer, Butts worked Lakers games at the Forum for almost two decades, including floor duty as a sergeant during the team's later championships.[2] He is credited with "cutting through bureaucratic red tape" to move the renovation project forward.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official biography, City of Inglewood, retrieved June 12, 2014 
  2. ^ a b c d e Piellucci, Mike (March 5, 2014). "Fabulous Once Again". Sports on Earth. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Inglewood: Narcotics Officer Promoted". Los Angeles Times. November 6, 1986. pp. SB2. 
  4. ^ Archibald, Ashley (August 6, 2012). "New chief offers view on policing Santa Monica". Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ Hill-Holtzman, Nancy (October 31, 1991). "Palisades Park Called Magnet for Crime". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Hill-Holtzman, Nancy (July 2, 1992). "Bid to Oust Myers Over Homeless Impasse Fails". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ Kramer, Jeff (August 26, 1992). "Conflict With Homeless Put in D.A.'s Lap". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ Times, The New York (21 December 1995). "2 California Police Departments Often Violate Rights, Suit Says". The New York Times. p. 23. 
  9. ^ Newton, Jim (December 20, 1995). "Suit: Police Snub Miranda Warning -- LAPD Said To Ignore Silence Right". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "L.A., Santa Monica police cited in suit". Associated Press. December 21, 1995. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ Avery, Michael (2002). "You Have a Right to Remain Silent". Fordham Urban Law Journal (The Berkeley Electronic Press) 30 (2): 613. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Rutledge, Devallis (September 1, 2003). "Departments : Point of Law Cops and Civil Liability". Police Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Former SMPD Police Chief Wins Mayoral Election in Inglewood". Santa Monica Mirror. January 11, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  14. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (September 8, 2009). "Head of LA. World Airports police and security services announces his departure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "James Butts, Mayor-Elect of Inglewood". The Los Angeles Sentinel. January 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. Gives State of the City Address". Los Angeles Sentinel. April 3, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  17. ^ Pleasant, Betty (December 12, 2013). "Inglewood employees stage vigil outside mayor’s house". Los Angeles Wave. 
  18. ^ Miller, Kenneth (August 1, 2013). "MSG Banking $100 Million The Forum Will Be Fabulous Again". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ Simmonds, Yussuf (May 16, 2012). "Mayor Butts has Inglewood on the move!". LA Sentinel. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  20. ^ Lewis, Randy (January 9, 2014). "The name of the game is music at the new Forum". LA Times. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 

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