LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday evening he does not support Black Lives Matter-LA's proposal to cut the Los Angeles Police Department's $1.8 billion operating budget by 90%.
The People's Budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year calls for shifting money that had been intended for the LAPD to provide more funding for housing, health care and mental health services.
Health care and mental health services are customarily functions of county government.
“I've met with some representatives of Black Lives Matter. I've been in forums with folks who I'm sure have supported that (the People's Budget), but you know, the budget that we put forward in the city of Los Angeles is a detailed budget, not so much an aspirational budget,'' Garcetti said, although he said he appreciated the suggestions from people about the police spending.
Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-LA, told City News Service she wasn't surprised Garcetti wouldn't support the People's Budget, as Garcetti hasn't cut enough from the LAPD budget, even in his latest proposal.
Abdullah said Garcetti's proposal to cut $150 million from the LAPDbudget is politically motivated, as he made the announcement only after thousands of people showed up to his residence and at City Hall.
“The only thing he responds to is political calculations,'' Abdullah said. “We have to make clear that his political ambition will not be reached if he doesn't represent the people he claims to represent.''
Garcetti supports shifting money previously allocated to the LAPD and other departments to spend an additional $250 million in predominantly black communities to address health and education issues, but has not provided specific details.
Education in Los Angeles comes under the auspices of the Los Angeles Unified School District, not the city.
Garcetti said he also sent a letter of support to the California Legislative Black Caucus regarding its proposals to provide reparations to African Americans for slavery, to restore voting rights to people on parole for felony convictions, to end the state's ban on affirmative action and strengthen emergency response services for “historically neglected communities.''
“I support the work that we are doing because we've been through so much for the last nearly two weeks, the trauma first of George Floyd's death,'' Garcetti said in a televised late afternoon update on the protests against police brutality and the response to the coronavirus update.
“Then what we saw and felt on our streets when we demanded justice, the few who rode along for purposes to distract away from that mission, in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis and an economic meltdown unlike any we've experienced. These have been traumatic days.''
Garcetti said there are 40 investigators assigned to the cases of 58 LAPD officers who allegedly used excessive force against protesters during the George Floyd demonstrations last week, and seven officers have been taken off field duty.
“In some cases, if the investigation calls for suspension, we do ... that regularly and that can and will happen,'' Garcetti said.
“Each one of these (cases) deserves the full breadth of investigation, as I said, transparently, honestly and accountably. That is something the people of Los Angeles who pay the salaries of myself and every other public official including police officers deserve and that is my promise to folks.''
Garcetti said more than 300 of the city's employees will work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health this week to conduct contact tracing in order to find out where COVID-19 is being spread from person to person.
Garcetti also said although the county has met the state's benchmarks to open gyms, sports arenas and stadiums, museums, hotels and others businesses, “it makes me nervous.''
Garcetti said even though the county has earned the right to reopen the facilities, people must still take precautions and businesses must continue to adhere to the county's COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Please be careful. You (businesses) are legally required to go through those protocols before opening, whether it's enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures for your employees and spacing,'' Garcetti said.
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