California spent $38.2 million on CHP officers at George Floyd protests

Patrick McGreevy
Protesters crowd around a CHP vehicle during a Black Lives Matter protest at LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A.  (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The California Highway Patrol incurred $38.2 million in overtime costs policing the recent fiery protests in this state that were in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota, state officials said Tuesday.

The costs include more than $6 million in CHP overtime costs for deployment in the city and county of Los Angeles, according to a letter to lawmakers by state Finance Director Keely Bosler.

The CHP costs are in addition to the nearly $25 million it cost the state to deploy 8,000 National Guard soldiers throughout California to help local law enforcement quell violence.

Previously, since April 1, the state had incurred $987,092 in overtime costs for CHP officers to respond to protests at the Capitol seeking the lifting of the governor's stay-at-home order, the agency said.

Mass protests erupted in cities all over the globe in response to the videotaped death of Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Los Angeles city and county on May 30 to assist local law enforcement agencies in their response to widespread civil disturbances, Bosler wrote to lawmakers.

The action was in response to a request by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for state aid, including National Guard troops, to help the Los Angeles Police Department respond to property damage and thefts in the city.

It marked the third time in more than half a century that the state sent troops to respond to unrest in the city over violence against a Black person in police custody.

“You’ve lost patience,” Newsom said to protesters in announcing the deployment. “So have I. You are right to feel wronged. You are right to feel the way you are feeling.”

The costs of 431,454 hours of unanticipated overtime for CHP officers will be covered by the state budget under the emergency order and other action being taken by the Department of Finance.

Money is being transferred from the general fund “in support of the state’s efforts to mitigate civil unrest in Los Angeles City and County,” Bosler wrote.