The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to slash funding for the Los Angeles Police Department by $150 million in an effort to appease angry protesters who want to defund the police.
The council voted 12-2 in favor of budget adjustments, with Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and John Lee casting dissenting votes. The city, which has a population of nearly four million people, will see a drop in the number of officers to 9,757 by next summer, a number of officers that has not been seen since 2008.
Democrat Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned of the budget slash last month, saying he wanted “to commit to reinvesting in black communities, and communities of color; in those places left behind.”
“This is a step forward, supporting minority communities in ways in which they deserve — with respect, dignity and an even playing field,” said Councilman Curren Price, the only Black member on the council’s budget committee.
The city council’s decision comes one day after it voted to replace officers, of which the city has nearly 9,900, with unarmed crisis response teams for nonviolent emergency calls.
According to reports, a portion of the money saved will be used to limit the furlough of municipal employees. The rest of the money saved will be “invested in underserved areas and communities of color,” according to CBS News.
Earlier this year, Garcetti pushed a seven percent increase to the city’s police budget. He has since walked back on that decision. In addition to the budget increase, Garcetti also approved giving officers $41 million in bonuses.
The city council’s decision also comes one day after the L.A. Unified School District Board of Education voted to cut the school police budget by $25 million.
City documents reveal that the city’s revenue for 2019-2020 is estimated to be $6.32 billion, nearly $253.5 million less than the proposed budget for 2019-2020.
The announcement to cut funding for the LAPD comes amid statements that the morale within the Los Angeles Police Department is at a “record low,” due to the never-ending Black Lives Matter protests.
Robert Harris, the director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said officers feel “beaten” and “bruised” by the ongoing protests.
“Morale across the rank-and-file is at a record low,” said a Breitbart News source within the LAPD. “Especially out on the street in patrol. We have been vilified and abandoned by the mayor, all but three of the city council members, as well as many business owners and residents of the city of Los Angeles.”