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Criminal Justice

LAPD Asked To Help With $5 Million Fund For Victims Of Botched Fireworks Detonation

L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price, wearing a blue suit, stands at a podium with a sign attached to it that includes his name and a City Council, during an outdoor press conference. Several people wearing masks and standing under pop-up tent emblazoned with his name stand behind him.
L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price announced a motion that would set up a $5 million relief fund for families affected by the June 30 botched LAPD detonation.
(Robert Garrova
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The L.A. city councilmember who represents the neighborhood where a botched fireworks detonation by a police bomb squad caused multiple injuries and severe damage wants millions of dollars more in relief funds to help families get back to normal.

The June 30 explosion injured 17 people, displaced dozens and caused severe damage to homes and businesses. Councilmember Curren Price introduced a motion on Wednesday that would direct city officials and partners to come up with a relief fund plan within 30 days. The motion was referred to the council’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee.

Price would like to see at least $5 million go into the fund, and imagines the money going towards a range of services including business grants, repairs and mental health counseling.

Price previously set up a $1 million fund that furnished $10,000 checks for some affected families and covered hotel stays for about 25 households.

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“Given the infliction that has been felt throughout the neighborhoods, more funding for assistance is needed to help make victims whole,” Price told a press conference Wednesday morning.

Price said he wants the additional funds to include money from the LAPD budget.

17 People Hurt, Dozens Of Properties Damaged

It’s now been more than two months since the LAPD failed to safely detonate part of a cache of more than 32,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, injuring 17 people and damaging more than 35 properties.

Many of the houses on the 700 block of 27th Street are still boarded up.

Price said that 60 displaced individuals are still staying at a hotel in downtown L.A., down from roughly 80 people two weeks ago. Price said repairs to seven homes had been completed.

But some residents and activists think the relief and repairs are not coming fast enough.

Ron Gochez, vice president of the South Central Neighborhood Council, said $5 million — if approved — would be a start. “But this should have happened a long time ago,” he added.

Gochez said people in the neighborhood are becoming “furious” about the situation.

“If this would have happened in a wealthier part of town, we know for sure that it wouldn’t take two months to fix these homes,” Gochez said.

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that a 26-year-old South L.A. man who was storing the fireworks in his backyard has pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegally transporting explosives across state lines and faces up to 10 years in prison.

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One of my goals on the mental health beat is to make the seemingly intractable mental health care system more navigable.

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