LOS ANGELES— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he tasked the city to “identify $250 million in cuts” to invest more money into the black community, communities of color, women and “people who have been left behind.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that the city will try and cut between $100 million to $150 million from its police budget alone. Garcetti said it is incumbent on the city to “step up and say, ‘What can we sacrifice?’”
The mayor said that the city will not increase its police budget of $1.8 billion. Deadline reported that Garcetti said that he will offer more specifics at a later press conference but said the money will be distributed “now, not years from now.”
“It’s time to move our rhetoric towards action to end racism in our city,” he said, according to Deadline. “Prejudice can never be part of police work…It takes bravery to save lives, too.”
Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, told a reporter at the paper that the city needs to go further with pulling money from police and “need to know that we’re fighting for truly transformative change here and won’t be bought off with just this minimal amount of money.”
Police departments across the country have had to respond to looting and arson in the wake of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last week. One former city police officer faces second-degree murder charges and the three others were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
More than 3,000 people have been arrested in Los Angeles County since protests began last week, most accused of curfew violations. Los Angeles District District Attorney Jackie Lacey has been criticized for reluctance to bring charges against police officers for misconduct. At some Los Angeles protests, demonstrators have chanted for her to be removed.
She said she supports peaceful protests “that already have brought needed attention to racial inequality throughout our society, including in the criminal justice system” but has a duty to “prosecute people who loot and vandalize our community.”
Garcetti has been the focus of some criticism by protesters in the city who are unhappy with the handling of his own police chief, Michel Moore, who said earlier this week that Floyd’s death was on the hands of those who committed criminal acts at protests “as much as it is on those officers.”
“And that is a strong statement but I must say that this civil unrest that we are in the midst of, we must turn a corner from people who are involved in violence, people who are involved in preying on others,” he continued.
Garcetti, who was next to Moore when he made the remarks, said that he has “known this man’s heart for decades.”
“When I heard him say what he said, I knew that he did not mean that, and I know that he corrected it right away. He continued, “If I believe for a moment that the chief believes that in his heart, he would no longer be our chief of police,” he said, according to Fox 11.
The Associated Press contributed to this report