LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The police union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers up to the rank of lieutenant is speaking out against Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to turn off power and water at properties that repeatedly defy coronavirus health orders to avoid large gatherings.
“Mayor Garcetti has demonstrated to be a professional political contortionist,” said Robert Harris, Board of Director for the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
Garcetti’s plan went into effect Friday in response to a Beverly Crest party that drew hundreds of people and ended with a shooting.
The mayor called those kinds of gatherings “nightclubs in the hills” when he first addressed the shut-off strategy to deter parties as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Harris said that he would prefer officers to deal with situations the union views as a higher priority.
“Mr. Mayor, you should send your civilian staff out there with a clipboard and let my officers get back to what they’re supposed to be doing, dealing with the rise of shootings and killings in the city right now,” Harris said.
In response to health officials and other leaders warning that those large parties also put lives at risk, Harris said he still doesn’t think the LAPD should get involved.
Additionally, the police department and city leaders are currently at odds over how to reshape the department in light of the “Defund the Police” movement across the country.
“I think it’s counter to what he’s already said about his expectations for the police dealing with non-emergency calls. This is not a police matter, this would be a matter for his civilian staff or someone else with a clipboard to respond out to,” Harris said. “When things don’t go well, he turns around and calls us killers, while at the same time telling us that he wants to expand our community-based policing in some neighborhoods, and this isn’t leadership. I think it’s a lack of leadership.”
Mayor Garcetti’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the union’s response.