“#LA City Council moves to send unarmed responders on some 911 calls”
June 26, 2020 | 2:22pm | Updated June 26, 2020 | 2:46pm
The council’s police reform committee on Wednesday approved a motion in which the LAPD would work with other city and county agencies that handle health and homelessness issues to “develop an unarmed model of crisis response that would divert non-violent calls for service away from LAPD to the appropriate non-law enforcement agencies and related matters,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Some council members raised concerns about funding and questioned whether the city might be moving too quickly or drastically to slice resources from law enforcement.
But Councilman Herb Wesson, who helped introduce the measure, tried to shut down the critics, LAist reported.
“I understand … that this makes you feel a little uncomfortable,” Wesson said. “Well, welcome to being black. Welcome to being uncomfortable.”
While shifting responsibilities for responding to calls away from police and to other agencies is a large part of the “Defund Police” movement, activists took issue with any LAPD involvement at all.
“This is not good enough,” said one member of the public who called in to the meeting, according to the Times. “We need to defund the police.”
“Defund the police, or you will get voted out,” said another.
Other motions approved by the committee called for reviews of the LAPD’s response to recent protests — including one that directs the department to report back to the council on how it will investigate misconduct allegations, and what discipline officers will face for using excessive force against protesters, according to the report.
A separate motion would require more officers to wear body cameras, and another would make it illegal to call 911 for frivolous or false emergency claims based on racial bias.
Earlier this week, the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee agreed to cut more than $133 million from the LAPD budget, according to the Times.
The full council will vote on the cuts next week.
Activists — including those from Black Lives Matter-LA and other community groups — said that’s not enough and called for a separate “People’s Budget,” which would slash the LAPD’s roughly $3 billion annual budget by about 90 percent.
But Councilman Paul Koretz, who sits on the police reform committee and said he supports the reform measures, told the Times efforts to defund or abolish the police would be “a step too far.”
“If we did what is being asked to do and we defunded the police, and in a week they were gone, I think that would be the worst decision the city council has ever made,” Koretz said. “I think the city would look a little bit like the movie ‘Purge.’”
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