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In LA, A Call To Minimize Police Presence In Communities

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Thandiwe Abdullah leads the youth arm of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter in a rallying chant. Abdullah is the daughter of the chapter's co-founder Melina Abdullah. Josie Huang/LAist
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The Los Angeles City Council is considering ways to reduce the role of police for non-violent 911 calls. On Saturday, more than 200 people gathered at a Baldwin Hills park to brainstorm how that would look.

One of the speakers was Jan Williams, whose brother has schizophrenia. Sometimes, she said, he skips his meds and the family needs help getting him to the hospital. But they hesitate to call 911 out of fear police will see him as a large, threatening Black man.

"They don't come with patience," Williams said. "They come on with weapons and ready to defend themselves."

Williams wants mental health workers to respond without police, while others want them out of schools and homeless encampments.

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Local chapters of Black Lives Matter and the People’s Budget coalition planned the meeting. It drew a trio of LA city councilmembers, including Herb Wesson who said the city would take the public's recommendations at upcoming hearings.

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At Outdoor Town Hall, Angelenos Picture A World Of Non-Violent 911 Encounters Without LAPD