LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday defended his decision to attend a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for his 2017 re-election campaign on the eve of the Police Commission's ruling on the fatal officer-involved shooting of Ezell Ford.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti had two 30-minute meetings with Obama administration officials, but also attended a reception for his re-election effort hosted by Harold Ickes, a prominent fundraiser for the Democratic Party.
The reception lasted about two hours and had as many as 50 guests, each of them asked to donate $1,300, the maximum individual contribution under Los Angeles' campaign finance limits, Ickes told The Times.
Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman said this week the campaign paid for the trip and Garcetti would not be commenting further on
his time in Washington.
But the mayor did have a response when KNX 1070's Charles Feldman asked Garcetti during Tuesday's regular "Ask The Mayor" segment whether he neglected to mention to protesters that he was headed back East for a fundraising trip because it would cast him in a negative light.
"No," the mayor said. "I could've easily canceled that and it was not the main reason I was going."
He added the trip was primarily to meet with White House officials about funding for a number of city programs, including efforts to help homeless veterans.
A video posted online showed protesters confronting Garcetti outside his home last Monday he was going to Washington in an attempt to get federal funds for community policing and homelessness programs.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter, told KNX 1070 NEWRADIO she thinks the mayor was less than forthcoming.
"He blatantly lied about his purpose in going to Washington, he told us he was going to get money for precisely the issue we care most about," said Abdullah.
The allegations follow Garcetti's decision to skip a community meeting in Venice about the fatal shooting of a homeless man because he had a family commitment.
According to The Times, Garcetti had a reception for diplomats and went to the opening of a video game company that evening, and the family commitment would not have conflicted with the community meeting.
Garcetti defended his decision, saying breaking two commitments that would potentially benefit the city in order to go to Venice didn't make sense.
"Looking back...I don't know that I would've attended that meeting, I don't want the question to be that I need to go to every single meeting," said Garcetti. "Most people that went there said it was a very unproductive meeting."
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