Black Lives Matter launched operation #DefundThePolice on May 30. Their petition states, “We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive.”
On Wednesday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he had canceled a planned 7% funding increase for the LAPD and said he is seeking up to $150 million in further cuts, with the money used for “reinvesting in black communities and communities of color.”
Garcetti told reporters, “This is bigger than just a budget, but I want you to know we will not be increasing our police budget. How can we at this moment?”
He added, “We can’t walk to the promised land in a single day, nor a single week, but we better get ready.” I supposed the “promised land” is a world without police.
On Monday night, LA Police Chief Michel Moore spoke at a news conference with Garcetti. Moore said,
“We didn’t have protests last night — we had criminal acts. We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd — we had people capitalizing. His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.”
Moore apologized minutes later, saying he “misspoke when I said his blood is on their hands” and that he regretted “that characterization.”
Immediately, people called for Moore to be fired, however Garcetti defended him.
Garcetti’s cancellation of the budget increase and planned cuts to the existing budget were not enough for LA Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah said, “Every dollar [Garcetti] is spending on police, he’s choosing not to spend those dollars on things that make communities safe, like mental health and good jobs and all of those other things that the city could be spending money on.”
However, Abdullah added that they were “encouraged to see that our constant action has pushed Mayor Garcetti, City Council to back up their nice words with some actual action, however small, that directly confronts the racist police state that is the city of Los Angeles.”
The People’s Budget LA is a coalition convened by Black Lives Matter LA. The coalition includes community organizations, faith leaders, parents, teachers, students, nonprofit leaders, and individuals from across Los Angeles. Currently, roughly 50% of LA’s general fund goes to LAPD. The People’s Budget recommended that it be cut to 6%. Not a typo.
And, according to LA Magazine, many activists fought for the city budget to be replaced with the so-called “People’s Budget,” In the end, Garcetti didn’t enact the people’s budget, “but the reversal is hard to see as anything but a response to all of that.”
It’s hard to understand how anyone in their right mind would contemplate defunding their local police force. I suppose conditions would be similar to what we saw in Minneapolis last week. Even with fully funded police forces, we’ve caught a glimpse of what anarchy looks like and it’s not a world that many of us would choose to live in.
#DefundThePolice? Be careful what you ask for.