- Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday night announced a proposal to cut Los Angeles’ city budget by $US250 million to reinvest in communities of colour, including as much as $US150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department.
- The cuts would reverse a $US122 million increase slotted for the LAPD, whose budget was projected to swell to $US1.86 billion.
- The news came a day after thousands of people rallied outside Garcetti’s Los Angeles home.
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Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday night announced that Los Angeles would cut its proposed 2020-2021 police budget by $US100 million to $US150 million. Proposed cuts to the city budget overall would total $US250 million, with the money reallocated into material support for Los Angeles’ communities of colour.
The proposed cuts would make up 5% to 8% of the previous allocation to the Los Angeles Police Department. Just days earlier, the proposed budget would have increased the LAPD’s budget by $US122 million, to $US1.86 billion, or 54% of the city’s general fund.
The proposed cuts come after days of sustained protests in Los Angeles, including a rally outside the mayor’s home in Hancock Park on Tuesday that drew thousands of people, following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The city also said it would also put a moratorium on adding names to the CalGang database. The California attorney general is reviewing the LAPD’s use of the database after allegations that officers falsified records and labelled innocent people as gang members.
“It is time to move our rhetoric towards action to end racism in our city,” Garcetti said.
The Los Angeles City Council’s president, Nury Martinez, introduced the official motion to cut LAPD funding earlier Wednesday.
Today we intrdcd a motion to cut funding to the LAPD, as we reset our priorities in the wake of the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & the #BlackLivesMatter call that we all support to end racism. This is just one small step. We cannot talk about change, we have to be about change. pic.twitter.com/hR1tBAqwHP
— Nury Martinez (@CD6Nury) June 3, 2020
The Los Angeles People’s Budget campaign, supported by Black Lives Matter LA, proposed a massive disinvestment in the police, cutting the department’s budget down to only about 6% of the general fund. Instead, they proposed a “Reimagined Community Safety” budget that would be 24% of the budget, or roughly half the LAPD’s budget, as well as the largest allocation of money to “Universal Aid and Crisis Management” ever, 44% of the budget.
A Black Lives Matter Los Angeles organiser, Melina Abdullah, told the Los Angeles Daily News that the group was “encouraged to see that our constant action has pushed Mayor Garcetti, City Council to back up their nice words with some actual action, however small, that directly confronts the racist police state that is the city of Los Angeles.”
Abdullah added that “they need to go much further.”
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD’s labour union, condemned the new budget proposal in a statement on Twitter.
“To declare that the work police officers perform, that we’ve been directed to do, is designed to harm people of colour while Ms. Martinez repeatedly sends us into harm’s way is divisive, disrespectful, and certainly is no profile in courage,” the statement said.
Los Angeles is not alone. Steve Fletcher, a council member in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, on Twitter suggested disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department altogether and replacing it.
Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents. That doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting. That considers itself part of our community. That doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry. That doesn’t murder black men.
— Steve Fletcher – Minneapolis Ward 3 (@MplsWard3) June 2, 2020