Los Angeles cuts police spending, reduces force to 2008 levels

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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to slash the budget for the city’s police force and reduce staffing to levels reportedly unseen since 2008.

The vote was a response to a dire financial forecast and the demands from mass protests in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

The Council voted 12-2 to scale back the number of officers from 10,000 to about 9,757 by next summer — part of a $150 million cut to the LAPD budget, The Lost Angeles Times reported.

Councilman Curren Price, the only black member of the Council’s budget committee, supported the cuts and said about $100 million of those savings will be redirected to summer youth jobs and hiring programs to help residents of color.

“This is a step forward, supporting minority communities in ways in which they deserve — with respect, dignity and an even playing field,” Price said.

The vote came a day after the New York City Council moved to cut a billion dollars out of the NYPD’s $6 billion budget, which will lead to a reduction through attrition of 1,163 cops in the 36,000-member force.

Though advocates in LA, as in New York, criticized the city’s budget for not going far enough in reducing police spending at the LAPD, which operates on an overall $3.1 billion budget.

Activists with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles called for the Council to pass a “People’s Budget” that would essentially divest from policing and relocate the funds the housing and other social services.

Los Angeles City Council members responded by looking for other ways to lighten the police footprint in the city, the Times reported.

The body is exploring how the divert more 911 calls away from the police department and toward other city agencies. It’s ordered city staffers to submit a draft for an “unarmed model of crisis response.”

The additional step pleased Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-Los Angeles.

“Rolling back police functions has the potential to have a far greater impact on advancing the call to defund the police than approving a meager cut of $150 million,” Abdullah told the paper.

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