SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – In the wake of recent protests over the death of George Floyd, the city of Santa Monica is moving forward with an Obama Foundation initiative to change policies to reduce police use of force.
The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt the “Obama Pledge” and directed staff to review Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) use of force policies and use the findings to reform the department.
City officials say the initiative will seek input from “community leaders to create a Black Agenda” that would “address issues of systemic racism in Santa Monica” and “develops programming that generates change and healing through long-term commitment to support communities of color in Santa Monica.”
Mayor Kevin McKeown initially signed the pledge on June 4.
“The Obama Pledge commits us to a clear process for real change,” said McKeown. “This is a task we cannot delay. Our work will be swift, it will be inclusive, and it will reflect Santa Monica’s long history of caring about all members of our community.”
Cities and jurisdictions across the U.S. have signed on to the Obama Foundation initiative, including San Francisco and Sonoma County.
Santa Monica officials also said the city would also tap an outside group to investigate the events of May 31, when hundreds were arrested after looters ransacked stores on the Third Street Promenade and 4th Street and windows were smashed at the Santa Monica Courthouse.
The review will be conducted by an independent professional body such as the OIR Group, which has conducted independent reviews of police actions across the country.