Mayor Garcetti Defends Himself From Criticism On Both Sides
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti defended himself today from criticism on both sides: from protesters and activists who say the mayor has defended LAPD officers, despite their agressive tactics on peaceful demonstrators; and from the LAPD union, which said the mayor has not defended or supported them enough.
During his late afternoon briefing, the mayor said that when he praises police officers as heroes, people on one side think he is making "an excuse for bad behavior." On the other hand, he said, when he speaks about holding LAPD officers accountable for racism, people hear that as "an attack on our police department."
"But it's not," he said, adding that he sees common ground between the two groups, although "maybe it's just me, because I get attacked from all sides."
SPEAKING TO PROTESTERS
Speaking to protesters tonight, Garcetti said that "harsh police tactics" seen in several viral videos shared on social media, which show LAPD officers using batons and rubber bullets on demonstrators, "have no place in the City of Angels."
He promised to hold those police officers accountable, saying the Police Commission's Inspector General is reviewing the footage "and will ensure a full investigation of the incidents depicting excessive uses of force, which can lead to officer removal or dismissal, or discipline."
The mayor added that "every incident has a larger context" and that some are misunderstanding his words and intentions when he speaks about police.
He also said that more work needs to be done to end racism in Los Angeles and make it a more equitable city.
"Somebody said it so well to me the other day: There are a lot more people woke, but now it's time to get out of bed," Garcetti said.
The mayor said he has overseen the development of a historically diverse police force that "reflects our community, but we need to make sure it still does," asking that "young African American men and women" join the LAPD. "I need people growing up in Los Angeles, whatever color you are, who know your neighborhoods, to join our force as well, like so many officers we have who know the blocks and know the peace."
The mayor said he definitely does not support protesters calling police officers "pigs" or "bastards":
"That is wrong and I will say that that is wrong. And I know I will get criticism from the other direction. But I've seen too much of the heroism of our men and women — as I said in this press conference — to not tell those stories. But I also will hold anybody who is a public employee working for taxpayers accountable, and I don't have to choose between those two things."
SPEAKING TO POLICE OFFICERS
Garcetti said he "won't ever stop lifting up the heroic stories of police officers on our streets," despite receiving criticism from protesters and progressives who are upset by his defense of LAPD tactics.
He also said he empathizes with police officers who he says make sacrifices to keep Angelenos safe:
"I know that every police officer who bears the burden of our collective failures, feels in her or his heart too. Our failures to deal with mental health and addiction, our failure to invest in our schools, even when we've had opportunities ... the officers have to confront that every single day, and that should not be your burden. It shouldn't be your responsibility to bear alone. It's stressful and it's traumatic."
Garcetti said his announcement earlier this week to identify $250 million to redistribute from multiple departments, including the LAPD, into comunities of color, is "not an attack on any police officers."
In response to a question about whether or not he regrets using the word "killers" in relation to police officers, the mayor said that he would not take his statement back and will not have his words be "distorted and picked out with tweezers and put out of context." (The LAPD union severly criticized Garcetti about his comments.)
The mayor said he was not referring to LAPD officers.
"When I talked about killers, I said .... we collectively have a choice of whether we will be those who heal, or whether we will continue being the killers," he explained. "That is what I said. And I absolutely did not say that about the League of Police Officers and I won't have those words distorted."
ALSO THE PANDEMIC IS STILL HAPPENING
Garcetti reminded listeners not to forget that we're still in the midst of a pandemic. "Please do your part to make sure that this moment, doesn't bring with it a second wave or a tragic moment of us losing lives," he said.
Because more people are getting food and grocery delivery, Garcetti announced that he has signed the city council ordinance to cap delivery app comission fees at 15%.
"Some of the delivery app companies have been charging excessive fees to restaurants and making it harder for them to survive, just when we want to help them get up on their feet," he said. "I hope that this will help pay for more cooks and waiters and ... more jobs, and help more restaurants to see that they can survive this moment."
The mayor added that the county's COVID-19 transmission rate actually increased this week for the first time in a while. He said this week has also been more deadly than the previous one, with 281 deaths, compared to 245 last week.
"Before, we'd seen that coming down each week," he said. "This is the first week it's gone back up. I'll say it again: COVID is still here — and it is still deadly."
Garcetti asked that protesters wear masks and maintain social distance at demonstrations.
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