Less than 24 hours after Los Angeles police chief Michel Moore sparked outrage by saying that George Floyd’s blood is on rioters’ hands “as it is on those officers,’” he faced unanimously angry, and often profane criticism from residents at an online meeting of the L.A. Police Commission.
Of the incident that sparked the protests, the death of Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police, Moore said of rioters on Monday, “His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers.’”
Once Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti retook the podium, he called the chief back up to clarify those comments.
“I misspoke when I said his blood was on their hands,” said Moore, “but certainly their actions do not serve the enormity of his loss. After the press conference, as outrage mounted, the chief issued a cascade of new apologies, at least three in the next few hours.
Even the mayor also sought to apologize for the chief.
At the police commission meeting Tuesday, Moore and the commissioners held a livestream ostensibly to discuss “regional unrest.” What they got instead was a flood of venom from outraged residents.
Most of those who poke called for Chief Moore to be fired or resign.
Many called for the LAPD to be “defunded,” noting that $1.8 billion of the city’s budget is dedicated to police.
Many described instances of Los Angeles police provoking protesters or escalating violence.
Some called for the entire police commission and the mayor to resign.
Among the more common words employed were “disgusted, frustrated, angry, incompetence.”
Here are some of the opinions expressed:
“The LAPD needs to be torn down and rebuilt.”
“You are not fit to lead and you should resign.”
“Your officers don’t see them selves as police officers, they see themselves as an occupying army.”
“This isn’t just about George Floyd. This is about the mentality of policing in this city. It’s about the fact that police officers don’t have empathy for black and brown communities.”
“As for the mayor, it’s pathetic that he is not here.”
“I don’t know if you all are racists, honestly it doesn’t matter. You job is to listen to the people and serve the community. it doesn’t matter if you’re a racist. You’re here to serve your community. The way that black and brown communities are being policed tells us you are not serving your communities.”
“For those of you [on the police commission] playing with your cell phones during this call, please stop. It’s incredibly disrespectful.”
“I’m going to address you like the f*cking child you have been throughout this meeting. You should be f*cking ashamed of yourself. Your words last night were disgusting. Particularly because you knew…You said they were going to be strong before you said them.”
“If you are the ones keeping us safe, I wonder who is keeping us safe from you?”
“The Chief…is a terrifying white racist.”
“Chief Moore…you are not acting as if you give a sh*t about human beings. You need to step up. You need to resign.”
“Hey! Executive director! Look up! Chief Moore, you’re smiling? Stop looking at your phones. Commissioner Soboroff, you look like you’re sleeping. Keep your eyes glued to the screen and listen.”
“It’s not that the system is broken. It’s working just as it was designed. You’re protecting the wealth of middle and upper class business owners. You are policing black and brown bodies, not for our safety, but for the wealth of the middle class. I don’t want to be policed. I want to be protected and served.”
“I have never felt less safe.”
Many residents also expressed disappointment at the chief’s demeanor, saying he was smiling in reaction to some of the harsher comments.
Throughout the livestream, Moore sat silent, eyes often diverted. He was the only one of the seven officials onscreen wearing a COVID mask. Several users commented on this.
One furious woman called him out on this saying, “For you to just sit there — with your face mask, not even looking up — is bullsh*t. You’re not listening. You’re just adding military force. F*ck you!”
After that woman ended her call, Moore finally removed his mask.
In his statement at the outset of the conversation, Moore said the LAPD has arrested more than 2,700 people since the start of the protests — about 2,500 were for failure to disperse or breaking curfew, the rest were for looting and acts of violence. He says 66 police vehicles have been damaged, with seven of them burned. Also counted off the number of officers who have been injured.
One woman called Moore out on an omission from that list of stats.
“In what universe,” she said, “are you doing your job if you don’t even know how many protesters have been injured?”
A speaker who identified himself as a black man offered to the commission, “I think all of you guys are racist.” He then spoke directly to Moore. “Chief: What is your idea of what black people should do to avoid being killed? Personally, I think black people should start defending themselves.”
Another woman maintained that “police can operate peacefully.” She cited the Women’s March several years ago downtown, saying the police were not in riot gear, and everything was fine. “But when it comes to Black Lives Matter,” she said, “they come in riot gear. Black people should not be afraid to live.”
City News Service contributed to this report.
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