LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A post shared on Facebook shows the frustration regarding proposed budget cuts for the Los Angeles Police Department as City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez spoke to officers from the Valley Bureau Friday.
“We’re not letting this happen to these officers,” Sgt. Jeretta Sanchez, vice president of the police union, said. “It’s not right. First of all, civilians are going on furlough because you didn’t have money, now you’re finding the money to give $250 million to Black Lives Matter?”
The police union held a Zoom news conference over Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to cut up to $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department budget.
“Eric Garcetti panicked and blamed the men and women of the LAPD for his failed leadership,” Jamie McBride, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said.
Garcetti Wednesday announced that the city would be making $250 million in cuts, spread across all departments, in order to redistribute that money to Black communities and other communities of color that have been left behind.
“We all have to be a part of this solution together,” he said.
But the union said it could not get behind the plan, especially after a comment Garcetti made Thursday to a group of Black community leaders at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church about the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and his proposal to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion budget.
“We must lead,” he said at that meeting. “I got calls from mayors around the country, some of them saying, ‘I’m so excited,’ the other ones saying, ‘What the hell did you do? Now I (have to) shift money.’ That’s exactly the point. It starts someplace, and we say we are going to be who we want to be or we’re going to continue being the killers that we are.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Sheriff Alex Villanueva were both at the meeting.
“We’re worried about him, and we are worried about his future and the safety of our citizens,” McBride said Friday. “Yesterday he smeared every single police officer in Los Angeles and across the nation by calling us killers.”
McBride, a 30-year veteran of the police department, said union members have lost “all confidence” in the mayor, although the union has not undertaken a formal no-confidence vote.
On Friday morning, LAPPL issued a blistering statement in response to the comment that stated: “Eric has apparently lost his damn mind,” and suggesting that if the city had a charter provision allowing the removal of a mayor for illness or incapacity, “we’d plead for it to be invoked.”
Speaking on MSNBC Friday, Garcetti said the union was taking his remark out of context.
“I said all of us, meaning 100% of us as Americans, we make a choice to allow death to happen in this country, to allow, if you grew up in Watts, to have 12 years less of life than if you grew up in Bel-Air,” he said. “Do we want to say you should have a four-to-six-times higher chance of dying in childbirth if you’re a Black woman (than) a white woman, have 10 times more household wealth depending on the color of your skin or not? These things kill people every single day.”
And on Friday evening, the mayor again clarified his comments, stating that there was no place for “harsh police tactics” in the city of Los Angeles while reiterating that budget cuts will be made to address systemic issues.
The City Council still has to approve Garcetti’s proposed budget, including any recently proposed cuts. The budget has to be adopted and signed by June 30.
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