Amid a growing “defund the police” movement as protests continue nationwide in reaction to George Floyd’s death, there are also proposed budget cuts looming for Los Angeles police — but cops there aren’t having it.
‘You bowed down to Black Lives Matter’
Sgt. Jeretta Sanchez — vice president of the L.A. police union — stood in front of City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and told her so, right to her face. And Sanchez didn’t hold back her disdain for Black Lives Matter, either — nor for the councilwoman and city officials she said “bowed down” to the organization.
“You bowed down to Black Lives Matter. These police officers that are out here protecting this city … protecting it from being on fire. If it wasn’t for them, this city would be burned down right now. I promise you this union will go to our grave fighting,” Sanchez told Rodriguez Friday,
KCBS-TV reported, as uniformed officers stood around their colleague and applauded. “We’re not letting this happen to these officers. It’s not right.”
She wasn’t done.
Sanchez also blasted Rodriguez over the idea of giving “$250 million to Black Lives Matter” after officials had placed civilian employees “on furlough because you didn’t have money” and “now you’re finding the money to give?”
She also pointed out that Black Lives Matter and the group’s followers threw rocks and bottles at LAPD officers amid rioting, “cracking their skulls,” yet city officials are still listening to BLM members — “a hundred of them” — instead of the far greater number of “law-abiding citizens” who only want “these officers to protect them.”
“And this is what they do every day,” Sanchez concluded, referring to her fellow officers. “And now you’re cutting from their families, when they put everything on the line? We’re gonna fight.”
As Sanchez walked away, another officer was heard saying, “We’ll take care of it at the ballot box.”
What’s the background?
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced last week the city would make $250 million in cuts, spread across all departments, and give that money to black communities and other communities of color, KCBS reported, adding that $150 million would come out of the police department’s budget.
The police union held a Zoom news conference over Garcetti’s proposed cuts from the department’s $1.8 billion budget, and Jamie McBride — director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League — said the mayor “panicked and blamed the men and women of the LAPD for his failed leadership,” the station reported.
The union also wasn’t happy with Garcetti’s “killers” comment Thursday to a group of black community leaders at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, KCBS said.
‘The killers that we are’
“We must lead,” the mayor said at the meeting, according to the station. “I got calls from mayors around the country, some of them saying, ‘I’m so excited,’ the other ones saying, ‘What the hell did you do? Now I [have to] shift money.’ That’s exactly the point. It starts someplace, and we say we are going to be who we want to be, or we’re going to continue being the killers that we are.”
McBride, a 30-year veteran of the department, said Garcetti “smeared every single police officer in Los Angeles and across the nation by calling us killers” and that union members have lost “all confidence” in him, KCBS reported.
And while the union has not undertaken a formal no-confidence vote, the station said the Police Protective League added Friday that Garcetti “has apparently lost his damn mind” and said that if L.A. could remove its mayor for illness or incapacity, “we’d plead for it to be invoked.”
What did Garcetti have to say in response?
Garcetti told MSNBC Friday that the union took his remark out of context, KCBS said.
“I said all of us, meaning 100% of us as Americans, we make a choice to allow death to happen in this country, to allow, if you grew up in Watts, to have 12 years less of life than if you grew up in Bel Air,” he told the cable network, according to KCBS. “Do we want to say you should have a four-to-six-times higher chance of dying in childbirth if you’re a black woman [than] a white woman, have 10 times more household wealth depending on the color of your skin or not? These things kill people every single day.”
The city council must approve Garcetti’s proposed budget, including proposed cuts, the station said, adding that the budget must be adopted and signed by June 30.