The senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was a tragedy. I condemn police brutality and believe that any law enforcement officers who use excessive force should be held accountable for their actions.
In response to the tragedy in Minneapolis, a motion to impose cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department was introduced to the City Council. I oppose these cuts to the LAPD and fail to see how this action will in any way increase the safety of this City and its residents. Our City budget is a list of priorities, and nothing is more important than keeping our City safe.
This does not mean the department should have a blank check. In light of our current fiscal crisis, LAPD, like other City departments, should work to eliminate inefficiencies. Also, the yet unknown realities of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenues may force us to make tough funding decisions regarding City services until the economy fully recovers.
LAPD has made tremendous strides and reforms over the last several decades – from community policing, to improved hiring, training and transparency practices, to launching programs like LAPD Devonshire PALS to build relationships with at-risk youth in our communities. The LAPD of today not only reflects the values, but the diversity of the communities it serves and I am immensely grateful for their continued service, especially now. Calling for arbitrary cuts to an organization that has been such a critical partner to keeping our City safe is not the way forward.
I do not believe we have to choose between keeping the City safe and fighting racial injustice. Now is not the time for more division. Now is the time for us to come together. In the upcoming weeks, I hope we spend more time listening to one another, and in particular, listening to the voices and messages of those who have been peacefully protesting injustice and inequality because they deserve and need to be heard. There is no place for the status quo on this front, and the true test of our resolve and commitment to address racial injustice will be how we continue this dialogue long after the protests come to end.