Reimagine Public Safety
READ TIME OVERVIEW: 1 MIN | FULL: 6 MINS
As your Council Member I will:
Commit to the #ParticipatoryBudgetPledge
Hold at least one participatory budgeting session per budget cycle
Empower constituent input to meaningfully impact how public money is spent
Prioritize the voices and needs of underserved people, specifically BIPOC communities
Commit to the #NoCopMoneyCA Pledge
I pledge not to accept contributions or endorsements from police or correctional officer unions or associations and instead prioritize the protection of Black lives and our communities over police repression and the incarceration industry.
Direct public investments in community programs that address the root causes of crime:
Food security programs
Support for family and child development
Social work services
Mental health services
Support programs that work on rehabilitating and helping crime victims and survivors
Support peaceful conflict resolution and alternative first responder programs for crises where an armed officer is not necessary
Withhold pensions and don't rehire cops involved in excessive force
One major factor determining whether you will be stopped by police is your race.
Even though Black and Latino drivers are less likely to be caught with illegal items, we are still stopped far more than white drivers.
The Los Angeles Police Department made more stops in communities of color and subjected Black and Latino residents to extensive questioning according to an independent review in 2019. Other tactics such as handcuffing or forcing residents to face a wall and check for tattoos were also often used.
We are more likely to be stopped for broken taillights or expired registrations, which are more likely to affect working-class communities, rather than violations like speeding. However, the pretext for most of these stops is race.
1 out of every 4th person that has been stopped by LAPD were Black even though 1 out of every 10th person in Los Angeles is Black. This is what we mean when we say "driving while Black or brown".
LAPD also has a track record of severely underreporting their traffic stops. An independent review in 2019 revealed that LAPD officers failed to document nearly 23% of their searches of people seen on video of police stops and searches.
That same report found that only 2% of these stops actually ended up in an arrest.
After report, after report, after report of how ineffective and racist these pretextual traffic stops were, Mayor Garcetti and LAPD Chief Moore decided to pull back from these "stop-and-frisk" tactics. But early this year, they backtracked on their commitment.
Despite the racial disparities in stop-and-frisk, LAPD has returned to placing police officers to conduct more stop-and-frisk searches in communities of color.
I know too well the trauma of growing up in LA and being stopped multiple times by police whether my mother was driving me to school or we were going to the grocery store. Growing up Black in America, you never know how a police encounter is going to end. For many, it can lead to traumatizing or often fatal results. The digital age has helped put these stories in the light, but this public safety crisis has been too familiar for Black and Latino communities.
Now more than ever in recent history, people from all walks of life are rising up and demanding an end to police brutality.
We must Reinvest in Our Communities and Community-based Programs
We would expect our leaders to hear these calls for justice and take action to make the change we need and deserve. Unfortunately, Joe Buscaino, my Council Member, was one of two dissenting Council Members to oppose a $150 million cut in LAPD’s $1.8 billion budget. However, someone like Buscaino who has received more than $220,000 in cop money, and is a former cop himself, can’t be trusted to hold police officers accountable. Let alone change public safety.
In Los Angeles, the police are too often the first response to Angelenos going through a crisis. However, the police should not be the first response to every situation. In many cases, a police officer's presence is not only inappropriate but dangerous. Nearly a quarter of all people killed by police in America had a mental health condition.
When an unhoused Angeleno is going through a mental health crisis, it is the police that gets called to handle it. These situations usually don't end well. One in three times a police officer used force, it involved an unhoused person.
Over the past five and half years, LA taxpayers have foot the bill of $245 Million in LAPD settlements. This month, April 2021, LA taxpayers paid $1.6 million for three more LAPD settlements. One of the police-involved shootings resulted in the death of someone with a mental disability.
Disinvestment in social services coincides with an increase in police funding. We need to end the criminalization of poverty and mental health and provide a well-funded social safety net to protect Angelenos going through hardships.
We cannot wait for our so-called “leaders” to find the right time to meet the inflection point that we’re in right now. It’s time for our community to make the change ourselves.
Our communities are safer when we invest in them. It's often said that a government’s budget is a statement of its values. Our budget for too long has undervalued public investments in our community. More than half of our city’s unrestricted general fund goes towards LAPD. That's money that can be put towards social work services, mental health services, public housing, public transportation, and many other investments in our community.
Imagine what our city could look like if someone we loved was going through a crisis and rather than have a police officer with a gun and handcuffs at the door, there was an unarmed community safety advocate who is trained and ready to help.
We can have a Los Angeles that values everyday people and prioritizes reinvesting in our communities rather than policing them, but we need leaders who are more loyal to their constituents, not police associations.
It's time we invest in us and have real public safety.