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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday he would be cutting the city police department’s budget by $100 million to $150 million and reinvest the money in “communities of color” in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
During an evening press conference, Garcetti spoke of an “urgent moment” for the city and an “inflection point,” adding that he is “committed to making this moment not just a moment.”
“It is time to move our rhetoric towards action to end racism in our city,” he said, noting further he would make commitments to create more racial equality.
“Prejudice can never be part of police work…It takes bravery to save lives, too,” the mayor continued, noting that the LAPD must move beyond past reforms.
“We will not be increasing our police budget,” he said.
Earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported that Garcetti had proposed increasing the LAPD budget by about 7 percent, even as the city sought to cut other services as coronavirus-related shutdowns of businesses cut into revenue. The increase included a combination of raises and bonuses for rank-and-file officers, but the decision to redirect the funds to ‘communities of color’ means the raises won’t happen.
Garcetti said he changed his mind after thousands of protesters besieged his Windsor Square home shouting “defund the police!”
City Council President Nury Martinez told the LA Times several of her colleagues had proposed similar budget cuts to the LAPD.
“While a complete overhaul of the city’s budget will take time, we can begin to slowly dismantle those systems that are designed to harm people of color,” Martinez said. “A preliminary cut to the LAPD budget will not solve everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
However, the paper added, “Progressive activists said those actions do not go far enough.”
Currently, the Times noted, the LAPD consumes about 17.6 percent of the overall $10.5-billion budget, but that figure doesn’t include pensions and healthcare.
The city’s largest police union was angered by Martinez’s choice of words, calling them “offensive” and dehumanizing to officers.
But again, the budget cuts proposed by Garcetti aren’t enough for Left-wing activists. The Times reports that Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles joined with other Leftist grassroots organizations to draft what they called the People’s Budget after allegedly surveying Angelenos.
That proposal calls for allotting just 5.7 percent of the city’s budget to the LAPD, or about a 90 percent reduction. Ground Game LA, one of the groups involving in drafting the People’s Budget, said 9,000 of the city’s nearly 10,000 police officers should be replaced with “tenants’ rights workers, mental health counselors, gang intervention workers and others who could address pressing social needs,” the Times noted.
“I don’t think there’s any way to get a 90% reduction without layoffs, and that would be OK,” said Bill Przylucki, executive director of Ground Game LA. “But if they lay them all off and then hoard the money, that’s not a solution. We need to reinvest those dollars in all the right programs.”
Much of the renewed effort to ‘defund the police’ stems from anger over the LAPD’s role in trying to quell rioting and looting in the wake of the Floyd death. Left-wing groups are angry that police often used batons, rubber bullets, and tear gas against rioters.
But they’re not offering a solution to such conditions other than getting rid of police officers, which other city council members find exceedingly impractical.
“Ten thousand officers were barely able to keep the peace,” Councilman Paul Koretz — who represents several business districts were much of the looting took place — told the Times. “Imagine if we didn’t have the response that we did.”
Nevertheless, Garcetti’s budget cuts were widely panned as inadequate on social media.
They need to add a zero to it, if not more. 50% decrease to start.
— Staycie Francisco (@sfrancisco15) June 4, 2020
— Craig (@cgnry) June 4, 2020
Not enough @MayorOfLA. Listen to the people. Cops aren’t essential.
— LAUSD chalupa (@ThisIsHans) June 4, 2020
Not enough @MayorOfLA – make it 1.5 billion and resign. You’re not equipped to handle the responsibilities of your office.
— Frankie (@sonsontweets) June 4, 2020
We’re really gonna have to keep shaking dimes out of his pocket like bullies in a high school sitcom until he actually makes substantial budget progress, huh? 😂
— Mantha! (@manthadraws) June 4, 2020
That isn’t meaningful change. Meaningful change is removing union protection that prevents oversight. This will just lead to patrol cars getting replaced a year later. Same cops driving the same cars with the same guns and the same fists. Literally NO change.
— Chris Heisel (@cdheisel) June 4, 2020
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