Los Angeles, CA – A Los Angeles City councilman who voted to cut the city’s police budget by $150 million had police respond to his home on eight occasions since early April, according to public records.
According to records released by the City of Los Angeles, some of the calls for service at Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s home involved providing extra patrol due to protesters in the area.
“A public records request reveals that LA city councilman Mike Bonin, who voted to defund LAPD by $150 million, has called LAPD to his home 8 times since 4/4/20, including to provide extra patrols and protection from peaceful protesters at his house,” KTTV reporter Bill Melugin tweeted on Aug. 7, along with a link to the public records.
Melugin noted that he was not the one who filed the records request, but commended “whoever did it.”
Bonin, 53, denied the allegations in a Twitter response.
“I have NEVER asked LAPD for patrols at my house,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “When there have been protesters at my house opposing homeless housing, rent control, Stay at Home orders, and the BLM movement, I specifically asked LAPD NOT to send anyone.”
Bonin said that he also “specifically asked for no patrols” at his home even after police offered to do so in the wake of protests that occurred outside other elected officials’ residences.
“Seven of the eight calls you cite were apparently generated by LAPD themselves, sending patrols without my request and often without my knowledge,” Bonin claimed. “The only time LAPD has come at my request was to pick up as evidence the syringes that one of the right-wing protesters left on our doorsteps.”
The councilman said the allegations were nothing more than a “cute tactic to try to silence or intimidate a public official who is standing up to the police union. It ain’t working.”
According to Melugin, multiple Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sources said that police “would not generate their own calls for a simple patrol.”
He tweeted a screenshot of a text he said he received from a “high level LAPD source” who said that someone had placed the calls for assistance.
“This was definitely a call for service by Bonin or a member of his staff,” the LAPD source wrote. “From time to time we are called from high up to respond to city council member’s residences, but don’t usually generate a call ourselves.”
“The call would have been placed by the resident or someone reporting something happening at that address,” the high-ranking LAPD official added.
Bonin was one of 11 Los Angeles councilmembers who voted to slash the LAPD’s budget in June, The Washington Examiner reported.
“I think we owe it to Los Angeles to come up with a better and a smarter way of doing public safety and emergency response, and I think this motion is the first step in doing that,” Bonin said at the time. “It’s not about random slashing and cuts. It’s about reprioritizing and…to invest in neighborhood safety, and there’s ways to do that.”
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez faced backlash for similar allegations back in June, when it was revealed that she and her family were using the LAPD as a 24-hour, taxpayer-funded private security detail.
Martinez, a democrat, failed to mention when she spearheaded the defunding effort that LAPD officers had been posted outside her home since early April, and that they continued to perform those round-the-clock private security duties even after she demanded that the department’s budget be slashed by $150 million.
Martinez touted her defunding effort in a tweet on June 3, calling it a move to “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,” Martinez added. “We cannot talk about change, we have to be about change.”
Martinez said that the country needs to “rethink what it is that makes people safer,” NPR reported.
“We cannot just look at the police in isolation,” her motion read. “There is no doubt that communities of color suffer disproportionately from negative interactions with the police.”
Martinez alleged that the LAPD’s agendas are driven by Jim Crow, slavery, corporatism and segregation, and claimed that officers are trained to enforce a system that oppresses certain races, FOX News reported.
“We need a vision for our city that says ‘there is going to be justice,’” she wrote in her motion to defund the LAPD, according to Spectrum News. “American society is founded on a racial hierarchy, one that is born out of slavery, followed by Jim Crow segregation and corporate abuse of labor. As such, police departments are asked to enforce a system of laws that are designed to reinforce and maintain economic and racial inequality.”
Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) Director Detective Jamie McBride, a 30-year veteran of the force, called Martinez’s proposal “ironic.”
“Here she is demanding $150 million be reallocated from the police budget, but yet she has security at her house by the Los Angeles Police Department,” Det. McBride told Spectrum News.
The private security detail was paid for by taxpayer dollars, according to the detective.
“It’s disgusting,” Det. McBride said. “For two officers in front of a residence since April, you’re probably over $100,000 of the people’s money.”
In early May, the detail was decreased from 24-hour coverage to coverage between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., Spectrum News reported.
Officers were still required to conduct roving patrol checks outside the city council president’s home throughout the overnight hours.
Martinez abruptly canceled the LAPD security detail altogether after Spectrum News called her office for comment on June 4, according to the news outlet.
On June 8, Martinez’s spokesperson, Rick Coca, said that the detail was canceled because the city council president felt that the security the officers were supposed to provide to her had been compromised, Spectrum News reported.
Coca claimed that the LAPD had recommended that police post up outside Martinez’s home after she and her daughter allegedly received “death threats…over a month ago.”
It is unclear whether or not any of the alleged threats were deemed to be credible.
“If she really felt threatened, then that security should have still been in place,” Det. McBride told Spectrum News. “Obviously there wasn’t a threat there because the units from what I understand have disappeared.”
The LAPD refused to comment on whether or not other city council members have also had protection details of their own, Spectrum News reported.
“You have police officers providing security for city leaders and then we feel backstabbed,” Det. McBride noted.
The detective said that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s anti-police attitude has also been a slap in the face to the police force.
“He calls all police officers killers, and yet we’re the ones that provide security for him his wife and his children,” Det. McBride told Spectrum News. “It’s two-faced. They’ll do whatever they can to make somebody happy over here, then they’ll go over there and say something else. It’s a typical politician move.”
The city plans to dump some of the funds docked from the LAPD into creating a new special prosecutor position to look into allegations of police misconduct, which protesters have also demanded, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It is time to move our rhetoric towards action to end racism in our city,” Garcetti declared, according to Deadline. “Prejudice can never be part of police work…It takes bravery to save lives, too.”
The mayor said that the city needs “to move toward a guardian-based system” instead of the traditional policing model, Deadline reported.
The city has established a new Civil and Human Rights Commission, which will “apply an equity lens to everything we do,” Garcetti added.