When Black Lives Matter protesters are asked about their requests during the recent unrest, one of the few things that they are willing to go on record with is their desire to defund the police. It’s one of the few concrete demands that they are willing to make. Activists disagree slightly on what this request means but police budgets are going to be cut, if they have their way.
They want to see more of the money that is being used to fund our nation’s police forces being spent on social services. The Black Lives Matter protesters believe that their community will be able to thrive if the funds are reinvested. Mayor Eric Garcetti finally decided to start meeting them halfway. He let the world know that he is going to be redirecting funding to other aspects of Los Angeles.
Initially, the LAPD was going to receive a budgetary increase. Now, Garcetti is giving in to the protesters, promising budget cuts. If he is true to his word, the police are going to be receiving a budget cut that ranges between $100 and $150 million. It’s an unexpected move, for sure. The money will be used to reinvest in minority communities, as per the request of the Black Lives Matter protesters.
In an unexpected move, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that a planned funding increase for LAPD has been canceled and the city will likely seek as much as $150 million in further cuts, with the money used for “reinvesting in black communities and communities of color.”…
Prior to the announcement, the city was actually planning a 7% increase in funding for LAPD, which would have given the department approximately 53% of the city’s general fund. This despite the fact that major cuts were planned for other essential services due to budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
If the budget increase had gone through, the LAPD would have received 53 percent of the city’s total funding. “We can’t walk to the promised land in a single day, nor a single week, but we better get ready,” said the mayor. The mayor had no chance of being able to defend an increase in the policing budget because of a very unfortunate comment that was made by Michael Moore.
The Los Angeles police chief put his foot in his mouth big time. Can you believe that this man somehow managed to equate the protesters with the officers who killed George Floyd? It was a tasteless remark and it may have cost the officers of Los Angeles a great deal of money. “His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers,” said Moore.
This comment is going to forever live in infamy. How can the city of Los Angeles look at these protesters and explain this away with a straight face? Once the general public caught wind of the comments, they demanded Moore’s firing. While the mayor tried his best to defend the commentary, there was no way to defend the budget.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles organizer Melina Abdullah was not impressed with the budget decision. She took the time to relay a message through the People’s Budget campaign. While Garcetti was praised for taking some form of action, it was not enough to satisfy the protesters. We are now wondering what would be enough for these protesters.
I've read multiple "defund the police" or "abolish the police" takes that don't even acknowledge that murders happen and what we should do about them without police. There are tons of articles waving away concerns about riots with very weak whataboutism. It's, frankly, pathetic.
— German Lopez (@germanrlopez) June 4, 2020
The activists who are making these demands all around the country are waiting to hear more. Los Angeles is not the only city that is going to be forced to make some tough decisions to appease their protesters. The crowd that wants all police officers defunded cannot seem to decide whether they want full abolishment or a more balanced budget around the margins.
The police cannot be abolished, no matter what the protesters may think. How will murders be solved? What about the communities that are currently seeking additional policing? The cries for abolishing also ignore the popularity of the police among American citizens. Right or wrong, there is no shortage of people who do not view these officers in a negative light.
More police officers, in particular, doesn’t need to mean more arrests and more incarceration. More beat cops walking the streets seems to deter crime and reduce the need to arrest anyone. And some of the best-validated approaches to reducing excessive use of force by police officers require departments to adopt more manpower-intensive practices.
In terms of the intersection of criminal justice policy and racial politics, new polling provided exclusively to Vox from the leading Democratic data firm Civis Analytics shows that black voters — just like white ones — support the idea of hiring more police officers. Black voters are likely aware that they are disproportionately likely to be victims of crime and disproportionately likely to benefit from extra police staffing in high-crime areas. Indeed, as Jenée Desmond-Harris wrote for Vox in 2015, one primary grievance African Americans have with the criminal justice systems is that black neighborhoods are paradoxically underpoliced.
Meanwhile, there are some who are pointing out the police’s role in eliminating the issues that the Black Lives Matters protesters are most concerned with. No sane city is going to zero out their police budget because of protests but there is sure to be some belt tightening going on over the next few weeks. Only time will tell whether these decisions are wise ones or not.