Things That Matter

Mayor Eric Garcetti Announces Budget Cut To LAPD But Critics Say It Isn’t Near Enough

Days of protests and civil unrest have rocked Los Angeles and other major American cities. People are angry that police have continued to kill unarmed Black people with little impunity. George Floyd’s death reignited that anger and that hurt that has been bubbling for years. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a $150 million budget cut from LAPD but the numbers suggest the gesture is far from enough.

People across the country are protesting against the police brutality that has become commonplace in the U.S.

The above tweet lays out around 200 videos showing the blatant use of excessive force against peaceful protesters by various police departments across the nation. The videos show protesters with hands up chanting things like “This is what democracy looks like” before police officers fire rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds. There have been GoFundMe accounts set up to help protesters who have been maimed by rubber bullets pay for their medical bills after losing their eyes or being shot in the face.

The unrest has left governors, mayors, and the president of the United States unsettled and they are beginning to deliver on protesters’ demands.

Mayor Garcetti gives briefing regarding demonstrations for racial justice, June 3

Tonight I’m talking about needed changes to policing.

Posted by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference Wednesday evening announcing changes to policing practices. LAPD has been criticized throughout the Black Lives Matter protests of excessive force against peaceful protesters demanding justice.

Some of the changes to LAPD announced by Mayor Garcetti include a moratorium on adding names to CalGang, hiring an independent prosecutor to prosecute police officers accused of misconduct, and cutting $100 to $150 million from the LAPD budget to reinvest into Black communities.

LAPD currently uses $1.86 billion of the city’s allocated budget.

LA’s annual budget is $10.5 billion meaning that LAPD makes up almost 18 percent of the total allocated budget. However, LAPD eats up 54 percent of LA’s “unrestricted” general funds revenue. The “unrestricted” general funds revenue is created through taxes that have not been earmarked for specific projects voted on by LA residents. According to the LA Times, the “unrestricted” general funds revenue boosts LAPD’s total annual budget from LA to $3 billion.

LAPD was set to receive an increase of more than $120 million to the budget.

The budget was approved by default because the City Council failed to vote on the matter by the deadline. The budget is set to go into effect on July 1st. The increase to the LAPD budget comes at a time when every other department in the LA government is taking budget cuts due to deficits.

The announcement by Mayor Garcetti is facing criticism because it isn’t enough for the protesters. The budget slashes to LAPD are in reality the city council and mayor’s office not allowing for the approved budget increase to take effect for LAPD.

People in favor of cutting the LAPD budget to reinvest in communities of color are pointing out that a lot of money goes to LAPD to pay settlements.

LAPD has had to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements from lawsuits against the department. An LA Times analysis found that in 2017, LAPD paid more than $200 million in total legal costs, less than the proposed budget cuts announced by Mayor Garcetti.

The People’s Budget 2020-2021 has gained more popularity as people have taken to the streets to protest against the police. The People’s Budget took a look at the “unrestricted” general funds revenue and reallocated the money to programs and needs of the city. Under the People’s Budget, which was worked on by 10,000 people, LAPD would receive 5.7 percent of the funds as opposed to the 54 percent they currently receive.

READ: Protestors In Puerto Rico Bringing A Guillotine To The Governor’s Mansion Is Just Another Reminder Boricua’s Don’t Mess Around

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Mexican Army Wants To Pay Off Murder Victim’s Family With One Million Pesos In Cash

Things That Matter

Mexican Army Wants To Pay Off Murder Victim’s Family With One Million Pesos In Cash

ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

The family of a man who was shot in the back and killed by a Mexican soldier is demanding better support from the Mexican military after officials offer them one million pesos, or about $49,000 USD.

Officials say that the Guatemalan man was in retreat from a military checkpoint near the southern border, when they admit that a soldier wrongfully shot at the man killing him.

Military officials are offering $1 million pesos to family of the Guatemalan man the army murdered.

The Mexican Army is offering 1 million pesos (about $49,000 USD) in compensation to the family of a Guatemalan man who was shot and killed by a Mexican soldier along a stretch of Mexico’s southern border.

The man, Elvin Mazariegos, 30, was killed by the army in the state of Chiapas by a soldier who opened fire on a car in which he was traveling with two other people.

According to Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the soldier shot at the vehicle as it tried to escape in reverse from a military checkpoint. He said the decision to shoot was an “erroneous reaction” because the military personnel hadn’t come under attack. The solider who shot Elvin Mazariegos was turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office.

The family is asking for more support since Mazariegos was the family’s sole income earner.

Olga Mazariegos told the newspaper Reforma that the Mexican army had offered a single 1-million-peso payment to her brother’s family. But the family is also demanding monthly maintenance payments for Mazariego’s daughters, aged 9 and 5, and 2-year-old son, she said. She said their father was the sole income earner in his family.

“What we want is monthly maintenance, but they say that they’ll only give [a single payment of] approximately half a million quetzales,” Mazariegos said. At today’s exchange rate, 1 million pesos is in fact 377,300 quetzales.

The slain man’s sister said the army’s proposed payment will be insufficient for the man’s widow to maintain her family. “She’s left alone with her three children; what happened to my brother is not fair,” she said, adding that it was insulting for the army to say that his life was worth 1 million pesos.

Mazariegos murder comes as police brutality gains greater attention across Mexico.

Credit: PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Residents near the border (including Guatemalans) have demanded justice. About 300 angry residents detained 15 other soldiers also deployed near the border. Nine soldiers were released about three hours after they were detained, while the others were set free in the early hours of Tuesday morning after Mexican officials reached a deal with the civilians to provide them with “economic reparation” for the killing. The army chief didn’t reveal how much money was paid to the angry residents.

The killing of Mazariegos came just two days after the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested by municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

So many of those attempting to reach the United States – or even Mexico in some cases – are already fleeing extreme violence, poverty, and fear. Refugees from Honduras and El Salvador (among other countries) are hoping to find a better life faraway from the corruption and danger that they face in their home countries.

But what happens when those same people fleeing violence in their home countries are met with state-sponsored violence on their journey to a better life? Unfortunately, at least one refugee, 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters, has lost her life while hoping for a better one.

Four police officers are in custody after the killing of a woman from El Salvador.

Four municipal police officers are in custody and under investigation for murder following the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested in Tulum.

Video footage shows a female officer with her knee on the back of 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters who was living in Tulum on a humanitarian visa.

In the footage, Victoria, who was apparently arrested for disturbing the peace, can be heard moaning in pain and is seen writhing on the road next to a police vehicle as she was held down for more than 20 seconds. Three male police are also present, one of whom appears to help the female offer restrain Victoria. Footage then shows officers drag her limp body into the back of a police truck.

Many are comparing Victoria’s murder to that of George Floyd.

Many in Mexico are comparing Victoria’s death to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer, who also died pinned under an officer’s knee. Video shared on social media shows a police officer leaning on Salazar’s head and neck and she cries out, and then goes limp. Officers then drag her body into the back of a police truck.

Mexican officials have largely condemned the officers’ actions and the Attorney General said that the officers — three men and one woman — will be charged with femicide. The charge of femicide carries a penalty of no less than 40 years in prison. The police actions violated the national law on the use of force, the Attorney General’s Office said. 

Victoria’s death comes as millions of Mexican women demand that the authorities do more to combat gender violence in Mexico, where an average of 11 women are killed every day. Her alleged murder also occurred as Mexican authorities ramp up enforcement against mainly Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.

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