In response to nationwide protests against police brutality and increasing demands for police reform, the Los Angeles City Council introduced legislation Wednesday that would slash between $100 million and $150 million from the LAPD budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
“If we are going to finally end the sin of racism … including in our police department, then we have to provide real solutions for real people who need our assistance,” council President Nury Martinez said in a Facebook post. “Today, my colleagues and I introduced legislation to look at the LAPD budget and take a first step toward change.”
The bill has backing from the entire City Council as well as the support of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, ABC 7 reported.
If put into effect, city staff would be tasked with choosing areas to cut police funding valued up to $150 million, and no less than $100 million, according to a statement from Martinez.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s annual budget is roughly $1.2 billion, according to the department.
Money cut from that budget would be used to “reinvest” in other areas, “including in our disenfranchised communities,” Martinez’s statement said.
“Following the gruesome murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis … the good people of Los Angeles … 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,” the statement said, adding that re-examining the city’s budget is a starting point in that effort.
The City Council’s proposal calls for action similar to what many demonstrators have been demanding in recent days, as well as in years past, to “Defund the Police.”
“Defund the Police” is a concept as well as a rallying cry for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and other organizations focused on racial equality and class issues. The BLM even has an active defunding petition going, accessible on the organization’s website.
“We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive,” the site explains.
People’s Budget LA, an offshoot coalition of the city’s BLM chapter, suggests police funding would be better spent on schools, housing, and mental health services.
“Defund the Police” is more nuanced than a three-word slogan.
To some, the idea isn’t that police should be entirely defunded, but that fewer public dollars should be given to police departments, and should instead be used for other purposes that benefit communities, according to Vox.
There are different viewpoints, though, and some do mean “Defund the Police” literally, wanting to see policing eliminated, at least as it exists now, the outlet reported.
The city’s budget committee is scheduled to begin LAPD budget deliberations on June 8, according to ABC 7.