Two prominent black civil rights activists say a city plan to cut up to $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department budget -- part of a wider plan to create new funding for social programs doesn't go far enough and that more money should be squeezed out of the LAPD's "bloated" budget.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a news conference aired live on Wednesday night as thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Los Angeles, said he will not authorize an increase in the LAPD's budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Police Commission President Eileen Decker added that the commission will seek to reduce the LAPD's proposed operating budget by $100 million to $150 million for the next fiscal year. The City Council proposed the same reduction earlier on Wednesday.
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The LAPD's proposed operating budget is nearly $1.86 billion, up about $122 million from the 2019-20 budget.
Garcetti also said he will ask City Administrative Officer Richard Llewellyn to reallocate $250 million from city's proposed 2020-21 budget to local black communities to address health and education issues, with the cuts coming from all departments, including the LAPD.
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson called on Garcetti and the City Council "to slash even more funds from the LAPD budget and immediately establish a crash program earmarking funds for an array of health, housing, social service, and job programs for the black poor in South L.A."
"The mayor and the City Council should partner with civil rights and community activist groups to pinpoint programs and organizations for funding," he said. "We have long contended that the LAPD's budget is bloated, wasteful and a top-heavy drain on city tax dollars and revenue that should be far better spent on boosting aid for the poor and needy in South L.A. The LAPD budget cut should be just a first step in refocusing the city's priorities from spending on heavy-handed law enforcement to spending on citizens needs."
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah expressed similar sentiments.
She said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Daily News that she's "encouraged to see that our constant action has pushed Mayor Garcetti, (and the) 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."
But "they need to go much further," she said, adding that "$150 million looks big until you realize it still leaves the LAPD with 51% of the city's unrestricted revenues. That's not at all acceptable."