Los Angeles, CA – The city of Los Angeles has announced plans to slash the local police department’s budget by as much as $150 million in order to divert funds into the black community.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed on Wednesday to “identify $250 million in cuts” from other departments and programs in order to “invest in jobs, in health, in education and in healing” for those “who have been left behind,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Garcetti said that “every department” in the city is expected “to step up and say, ‘What can we sacrifice?’”
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and other members of the council were quick to offer up the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as a sacrificial lamb.
Martinez introduced a motion to dock between $100 and $150 million from the LAPD’s $1.86 billion budget to get the ball rolling, Deadline reported.
She touted the effort in a tweet, 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.”
Los Angeles Councilman Herb Wesson alleged that current legal systems “are designed to harm people of color” and must be dismantled, KNBC reported.
“A preliminary cut to the LAPD budget will not solve everything, but it’s a step toward to being the city we aspire to be,” Wesson declared.
Protesters have also demanded that police stop adding names to databases aimed at identifying and tracking gang members, so the city has agreed to impose a moratorium, Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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.
The commission is expected to be up and running by July 1, Deadline reported.
Garcetti said that the changes are being made due to the demands of the protesters and their “movement to change who we are in America when it comes to black America and our criminal justice system,” NPR reported.
Mobs of angry protesters rallied outside the mayor’s Hancock Park home for days prior to his announcement.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah scoffed at the concessions, and said the city needs to yank even more funding from the LAPD, FOX News reported.
“[The city needs] to know that we’re fighting for truly transformative change here and won’t be bought off with just this minimal amount of money,” Abdullah declared.
A coalition of organizations led by Black Lives Matter, People’s Budget LA, has proposed a budget that would defund the LAPD even further, leaving police with a total budget that would be approximately one-tenth of its current amount, KNBC reported.
The Black Lives Matter-backed budget demands that those funds be diverted to programs like housing for the homeless.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors said that cutting the LAPD’s budget to that degree would have cataclysmically negative effects.
“Their ‘budget’ will guarantee that the last several nights of mayhem in Los Angeles will be the new normal,” the board told KNBC in a statement. “Laying off over 9,000 officers will leave just over 900 officers to police our city. It would be a dream come true for gang members and criminals and would expose every single neighborhood in Los Angeles to an unprecedented level of crime.”
Garcetti is expected to sign off on final budget revisions on June 30.