The Los Angeles School Police Department doesn't have any more weapons from a controversial Department of Defense program, according to a letter the school district sent to activists on Monday.
On Feb. 5, the department returned the last of the weapons it had obtained through a Defense Department program that stocked local police departments with surplus weapons and equipment. The district sent the letter to the Labor/Community Strategy Center, a civil rights group, and provided it to The Times.
In 2014, the district returned the grenade launchers after scrutiny following the Ferguson Police Department's use of Defense Department weapons against protesters in Missouri.
At the time, the school district released a statement justifying its decision to keep the armored vehicles and the rifles: “While we recognize, this armored vehicle is ‘military-grade,’ it is nevertheless a life-saving piece of equipment that the district would not otherwise have.” The 2014 statement also called the rifles “essential life-saving items.”
Then-Supt. Ramón C. Cortines sent the activists a letter in 2015 saying that the L.A. Police Department was no longer participating in the Defense Department's 1033 Program, and that the district only had "'standard' civilian police-force grade” weapons and equipment.
At Tuesday's meeting, the activists spoke over the Pledge of Allegiance and demanded to be heard before other business could proceed.