LOS ANGELES—Funeral services were pending Tuesday for Los Angeles civil-rights leader John Mack, as tributes poured in locally and nationally for a man hailed for improving the lives of people in disenfranchised communities and helping to reshape the direction of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Mack, 81, died Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to his family.
Mack served as president of the Los Angeles Urban League from 1969 until his retirement in 2005, when he was named president of the Board of Police Commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Mack also co-founded Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education in 1977 and was later appointed vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives.
Mack received awards from numerous institutions, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Operation Hope, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the California Afro American Museum.
"John Mack's wisdom, integrity and kindness helped transform Los Angeles," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Friday. "As a civil rights warrior, police commission president and ally to all who love freedom and fairness, John made history with a fierce determination to pursue justice, an unshakable commitment to equality, and an unbreakable bond with the community he worked tirelessly to uplift every day of his remarkable life. He moved both spirits and systems -- by merging his gentle bearing with a fearless resolve to make change that has touched and saved countless lives.
"I will always miss John as a friend, advisor, and moral compass," the mayor added. "And like many throughout our city and world, I will forever find inspiration in his extraordinary ability to convene us around tables of understanding, humanity, and peace -- especially in uncertain moments and at times of great strife. My thoughts are with his children, who are close friends to Amy and me, and I grieve with all who loved and admired this incredible man, whose words, deeds, and accomplishments will be felt for years to come and cherished through the ages."
Outgoing LAPD Chief Charlie Beck also hailed Mack, saying the city "lost a dedicated public servant today."
"Former police commission president John Mack was instrumental in guiding the LAPD towards community-based 21st Century policing. Our department and our city are in a better place because of John's legacy," Beck said.
Civil-rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson called Mack "a civil rights giant and freedom fighter.'
"Prayers for and condolences to the family of John Mack and the city of Los Angeles for which he worked so hard to make fair and just for all of its residents," Jackson said.
Magic Johnson said Mack "changed so many lives in Los Angeles."
"He truly delivered on the Urban League mission to provide job training, employment opportunities and education for our youth in order to empower the Black community," Johnson said. "Thank you John Mack for changing my life. May you rest in peace."
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