L.A. Police Commission and Chief Moore hear from outraged residents
The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday got an update on the police response to days of protests — but also faced deep anger from residents about the Los Angeles Police Department’s handling of the situation.
Many people were initially shut out of an L.A. Police Commission meeting because the Zoom meeting had been limited to 500 participants.
After the settings were adjusted to allow more to attend, many speakers called on Police Chief Michel Moore to resign because of his remark that looters were as responsible for George Floyd’s death as the Minneapolis police officers were.
Moore later walked back the remark and apologized for it.
Jocelyn Tucker said she appreciated the apology, but his words were telling.
“If that was your knee-jerk reaction, you’re not in the right job,” she said.
State Sen. Holly Mitchell also responded to his comments.
“I want you to know that we have every right to be outraged and that our voices deserve to be heard and not hijacked by outside agitators nor by a police chief who infers that our actions can be compared to the murders we have witnessed and experienced,” she wrote in a statement. “These type of distractions want to turn this discussion away from the main point — which is ending structural racism.”
Many speakers also said they had witnessed LAPD officers shooting rubber bullets at protesters and blamed the officers for escalating the tensions.
“I’m terrified of the LAPD. You have shown your true colors,” David Spencer said.
After about 80 people spoke, hundreds still were still in line for a turn to address the commission. Speakers were still calling for Moore’s resignation, as the chief listened, when Mayor Eric Garcetti began public remarks on Facebook Live at 6 p.m.
Asked whether he still has confidence in Moore, Garcetti said he has known the chief for decades and that the apology was sufficient.
“If I believed for a moment that the chief believed that in his heart, he would no longer be the chief,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti also said he has instructed the LAPD to minimize the use of rubber bullets and batons, and “if we can, to not use them at all.”
Moore told the police commission that when he saw the video of police killing Floyd, he and others at the LAPD “were greatly disturbed by it and troubled by the images and we sought to communicate clearly — those images we witnessed along with the rest of America, they were horrible. It was disgusting and without justification.”
Moore said the LAPD originally hoped to work with peaceful protesters. But while many demonstrators were peaceful, looting began Saturday night and changed the dynamics.
“When violence escalates, including assaults on officers, arson, widespread looting in Fairfax area Saturday, and we see officers sustain injuries, the loss of property, the department needs to resort to a stronger message,” he said. “We increased our deployment. We began blocking protesters, communicating with protests. We began to convey to them the need for peace. ... But we could not allow the safety of our officers or the public to be jeopardized.”
Moore said he is continuing to evaluate the department and strategies. As to allegations of officer misconduct, he said, “I want to assure you we will investigate each complaint, and I promise to hold accountable anyone who violates our policy or commits other misconduct.”
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