LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Three Los Angeles City Council members, including Council President Nury Martinez, filed a motion Wednesday directing staff to identify up to $150 million in cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
"The city of Los Angeles is in the midst of a health and economic pandemic unlike any we have ever seen in our lifetimes," Martinez said. "Following the gruesome murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, we are also in the midst of a social and racial justice crisis of epic proportions, where the good people of Los Angeles as well as the nation are asking their leaders to re-examine our priorities and to commit to taking a giant leap forward in recognizing and ending racism against black Americans."
Martinez said the budget reduction is "just one aspect of change," and that to end racism will take broader and ideological changes.
"Ultimately, we cannot talk about change, we have to be about change," she said.
The motion, which directs staff to provide recommendations on reallocating the funds into "disadvantaged communities and communities of color", was cosponsored by councilmen Herb Wesson and Curren Price and was seconded by councilman Paul Krekorian.
"Our only path forward is to dismantle the systems that are designed to harm people of color," Wesson said on Twitter. "A preliminary cut to the LAPD budget will not solve everything, but it's a step toward to being the city we aspire to be."
The operating budget of the LAPD is proposed to be nearly $1.86 billion, up about $122 million from last year, even as the city's Office of Finance is anticipating 2021 tax revenues will be between $45-$400 million short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some members of Black Lives Matter and other groups, in conjunction with continuing protests over police brutality and officer-involved shootings, have been calling for even more sweeping reductions in LAPD funding.
People's Budget LA is a coalition of organizations led by BLM that's been advocating for nearly 90% of current police funding to be reallocated to social services, such as housing for homeless people.
Though the Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors, a union representing LAPD officers, said that a reduction that large would be "dangerous."
"Their 'budget' will guarantee that the last several nights of mayhem in Los Angeles will be the new normal," the board said in a statement. "Laying off over 9,000 officers will leave just over 900 officers to police our city. It would be a dream come true for gang members and criminals and would expose every single neighborhood in Los Angeles to an unprecedented level of crime."
In a Wednesday evening statement, LAPPL said those who signed the motion were "spewing words that only work to marginalize and dehumanize the police officers who serve our community."
LAPPL said officers have stood on the frontlines of the protests for more than a week "being deliberately assaulted and attacked with frozen water bottles, cinder blocks, rocks, and urine-filled bottles to help prevent our city from literally burning to the ground.
"We have been asked to do the nearly impossible to protect the first amendment rights of the public so that their legitimate grievances could be aired to literally the entire world. Our officers have done so professionally and with great restraint."
The City Council's Budget and Finance Committee is scheduled to meet June 8, 15, 22 and 29 to make final revisions to the budget before being adopted and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti on June 30. The 2020-21 fiscal year begins July 1.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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