(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- The mayor of Los Angeles is seeking to reduce spending at the city’s police department and re-assign those funds to other initiatives.
In the wake of protests around the city about police brutality after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, calls began coming out to “defund LAPD” entirely. While that certainly isn’t possible, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this week that he would slash up to $150 million from the police department, as part of a $250 million cut from city departments.
Garcetti said the city would steer the funds they save into health initiatives, job programs and other services that would serve the black community and other communities of color. The LAPD could see cuts of anywhere between $100 million and $150 million, the mayor said.
City activists involved in groups such as Ground Game LA and Black Lives Matter have said that the recent aggressive tactics used by LAPD officers during protests have reinforced the need to defund the police department altogether. The Los Angeles Times quoted Akili, one of the organizers of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles who only goes by his last name, as saying:
“This crisis that we are facing now, with police violence, has got people thinking, ‘Is this what we want?'”
Not all members of the community or members of City Council agree with the plan, though. One of those people is Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district includes businesses where looting happened during the protests. He said of the cut to the LAPD budget:
“Ten thousand officers were barely able to keep the peace. Imagine if we didn’t have the response that we did.”
Originally, Garcetti had proposed a spending increase of 7% for the LAPD, but he has since backed down off that ask. Nury Martinez, the Los Angeles Council President, agreed with the move, saying:
“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. A preliminary cut to the LAPD budget will not solve everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
The issue is very divisive in Los Angeles, as it is in other parts of the country. On the one side you have activists who say that cutting the budget of an organization that’s part of the problem is necessary. On the other side you have community members who are afraid what such a massive cut would do to the safety and security of all citizens of the city.
The board chairman of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Lee Williams, for example, said it “would be crushing” for his neighborhood if the LAPD has fewer officers, which seems like an inevitability with such a huge cut in money. Fewer officers, he said, will almost certainly increase response times, cause community policing programs to suffer and make the neighborhood a less safe place to live.
Cutting the LAPD budget is a “dream come true for gang members and criminals,” said Craig Lally, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.