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.

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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.

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