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Morning Briefing: Replacing Police With Mental Health Experts

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In 2012, 14-year-old Jose Rodriguez Jr. died after being shot multiple times by Santa Ana police officers. Now, at least one member of his family is joining the call to replace law enforcement with unarmed service workers when responding to mental health crises.

Speaking to LAist reporter Robert Garrova, Jose’s cousin Ellie (her last name is being withheld) said that he was struggling with psychological issues at the time of his death. It’s been suggested that he left a suicide note.

“He wanted to run away from home," Ellie said, "and he ended up getting killed."

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L.A. officials say they’re looking for solutions that don’t involve sending police officers to the scene of mental health crises, while still taking city budgets and other resources into account. Those who have already lost loved ones to violent actions by first responders are hoping those solutions come before tragedy strikes again.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, July 30

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Our “How To (New) L.A.” series will help you navigate the 2020 reality of the city. Lisa Brenner put together a guide to local mental health resources, and a step-by-step manual for what to do if you have COVID-19, think you might have it, or may have been exposed. Plus, Darby Maloney asks an FBI hostage negotiator how to talk to anti-maskers.

Ever wonder where the green parrots of L.A. came from? In this week's episode of California Love, the team takes a first-parrot perspective into the legends and myths of how L.A. became home to the world’s largest population of these exotic birds.

Emily Elena Dugdale talks to National Guard troops about how they're helping California facilities fight COVID-19.

Catch Thai flicks or a documentary about Bob Marley, watch drag stars werk it at the Rose Bowl, attend a virtual production of the Bard's Measure for Measure, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this weekend’s best online and IRL events.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez follows the UC Board of Regents scheduled vote on President Janet Napolitano's fiscal year 2020-21 $862 million budget proposal, which includes an 8.5% reduction.

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In the L.A. Unified School District, 50 different organizations running charter schools have received PPP loans totaling between $73.6 million and $136.7 million. Such widespread participation in an aid program aimed at small businesses highlights how charters can straddle the line between public schools and private entities. Kyle Stokes has the story.

A motion passed Wednesday by the L.A. City Council increases fines for littering PPE, like masks or gloves. Caroline Champlin went on a PPE trash hunt around town and found some pretty gross litter.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

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How To (New) L.A.: What can I do, where can I go, and what’s allowed when I get there? Also, how should I evaluate possible hazards when engaging with the world right now?

Policing The Police: Amid the calls to defund the police, there's a strong push to rethink the way we rely on officers to handle thousands of mental health crises every year.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County set grim new records for the pandemic, with the highest single day totals for both cases (4,800+) and deaths (91). Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Los Angeles remains in a "very fragile" position, but he’s not planning on any additional closures of businesses or activities for now. The OC Board of Education voted to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom to let schools in high-risk California counties reopen in the fall.

Money Matters: California lawmakers say if Congress does not renew the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits that is now expiring, the state could step in to fill the gap.

Greening L.A.: Roughly 31,000 trees have been planted in L.A. in the past year, part of an effort by the city to add 90,000 trees by 2021.

Reminiscing On 2016: In this week’s episode of LAist Studios’ Servant of Pod with Nick Quah, Nick looks back on the 2016 politics podcast explosion with Jody Avirgan, who produced the popular FiveThirtyEight podcast through that election cycle.


Photo Of The Day

A protestor at a rally against the death of George Floyd holds a sign that reads "care not cops."

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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