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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Wednesday that city officials are planning to cut the police department’s budget by $100-$150 million.
Garcetti’s announcement comes after violent riots have ravaged the city’s businesses and residents. The mayor called in the National Guard to help curb the unrest that has overwhelmed the city’s law enforcement.
The mayor said the cuts to the police department will be replicated across other departments as the city redirects roughly $250 million from its budget to invest in “communities of color and women and people who have been left behind.” The Los Angeles Police Department’s total annual budget is $1.86 billion, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The cuts will hit “every department, including the Police Department because we all have to be part of this solution together. We all have to step up and say, ‘What can we sacrifice?’” the mayor said.
Shortly after Garcetti’s announcement, three Los Angeles City Council members introduced legislation to cut funding from the LAPD’s 2020-21 budget.
Protesters began marching last week over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. The protests have been overshadowed by violent rioters that have wrecked stores, attacked police, and stolen with impunity.
Garcetti has drifted some in his response to the riots. Soon after saying National Guard units would not be necessary, Garcetti called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to send in the National Guard on May 31 and imposed a city-wide curfew to stop the violence and restore order.
The increased police presence appears to have curbed much of the violence as officers arrested hundreds of people for violating curfew, stealing, or attacking officers and others, per the Los Angeles Times. At least 60 people are now facing charges.
On Monday, Garcetti and Los Angeles police chief Michel Moore gave a virtual press conference in which Moore said that looters were “as much” responsible for Floyd’s death as the Minneapolis police officers who arrested him. The statement sparked strong blowback, and Garcetti apologized for Moore’s statement later on Twitter.
“The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them,” Garcetti said.
The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) June 2, 2020
The protests-turned-riots over Floyd’s death, which began last week in Minneapolis, have spread to many of the largest cities in the United States such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is now facing murder and manslaughter charges after holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes while Floyd remained handcuffed on the ground.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after a video of the incident surfaced on social media. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution against Floyd, announced charges of aiding and abetting in a murder against the other officers involved on Wednesday.