Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson said he and other council members have introduced a motion that would “reduce the operating budget” of the LAPD for the coming year.
Wesson is the first African American President of the City Council. The councilman said the proposal could cut about $100 million to $150 million from the police depsartment’s 2020-21 budget, which is currently $1.86 billion.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the City Council usually approves the mayor’s budget each year. But the council members on Monday let the mayor’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1st to go into effect without a vote. They did, however, promise to make revisions.
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Police spending will consume 53.8% of the city’s “unrestricted” general fund revenue — taxes that are not earmarked for special purposes or certain fees, fines and grants. The LAPD makes up 17.6% of the city’s overall $10.5-billion budget, a figure that does not include police pensions and healthcare, according to city budget officials.
Some members of Black Lives Matter and other groups, in conjunction with continuing protests over police brutality and officer-involved shootings, have been calling for even more sweeping reductions in LAPD funding. “Defund the LAPD” has been a rallying cry at recent protests.
Activists have proposed a “People’s Budget” for 2020-2021, which would drastically reduce the allocation for police from 54 percent to just 6 percent of general fund spending.
The document states that its top priorities are “housing, mental health and wellness, public health and health care.” In that spirit, The People’s Budget allocates 44 percent of funds toward universal aid and crisis management, 26 percent toward built environment, 24 percent to a reimagined safety committee and the aforementioned 6 percent toward law enforcement.
Yesterday that sentiment was on full display at a public comment session hosted by the L.A. Police Commission. Many called for the LAPD to be defunded.
One speaker said that “the LAPD needs to be torn down and rebuilt.”
Discussing the incident that sparked nationwide protests — the death of Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police — Moore said of rioters at a press conference 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 a matter of hours.
Asked Tuesday evening if he still had confidence in Moore, Garcetti responded, “I’ve known this man’s heart for decades. When I heard him say what he said I knew that he did not mean it…It was wrong. I’m glad he quickly corrected it and further corrected it was well.”
As for his proposed city budget, Garcetti said, “I hear what people are saying out there. The next couple days I hope to show what we can do to make sure…those things are reflected in our dollars.”
“Justice is never given, it is earned,” continued the mayor. “It falls on elected officials to not just speak, but to act.”
The city council also unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning the four ex-Minneapolis officers involved in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death resulted in a 2nd-degree murder charge against the then-officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck and, on Wednesday, 3rd-degree charges against the remaining three officers.
The resolution, authored by Councilman Paul Koretz and co-introduced by several of his colleagues, called Floyd’s killing “cold-blooded.”
City News Service contributed to this report.
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