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COUNCIL CALLS FOR CHASE FELONY.

Byline: Rick Orlov Staff Writer

With yet another police chase receiving wide television coverage this week, a frustrated Los Angeles City Council called Tuesday to make it a felony to prompt such a pursuit.

``We don't have a real policy on this,'' Councilman Nate Holden said. ``The only way to stop it is to make sure people go to jail if they force the police to go after them. We have to do something to stop this.''

Holden's call for a change in state law will be studied by the city as it prepares a package of measures to deal with the issue as Mayor James Hahn and Police Chief William Bratton seek to limit television coverage of such chases.

However, their plea to television stations was ignored Monday during a dramatic 35-minute chase on city streets that went from downtown to North Hollywood, ending in the arrest of Refy Lusky, 41, of North Hollywood. Lusky was a suspected of shoplifting from a downtown clothing store.

``I was angry as I watched this,'' Holden said. ``Angry and disgusted. I hope everyone was.''

The LAPD has developed a new policy, to take effect next month, to limit the ability of officers to initiate such chases to only cases involving suspects in misdemeanor or felony crimes - although officers will be given leeway to begin a pursuit.

Hahn had no comment about the council action and said he did not believe the television coverage of Lusky was warranted.

Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD traffic officer, has called for meetings with the television industry to try to develop guidelines for the coverage of such chases.

Since becoming chief last year, Bratton has issued a number of appeals to the news media to limit their coverage of chases out of a sense they prompt additional problems.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 5, 2003
Words:302
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