Los Angeles Police Department officers rejected a plan to raise $ 10 million to fight layoffs and support candidates in the 2022 election, inflicting a setback on a union that tried to push back calls for funding the police.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents approximately 9,800 officers, last month asked its members to approve the creation of a “Protecting Our Profession” assessment, which would have raised $ 22 per paycheck from each. officer over a period of almost two years. The profits were reportedly used to support the union’s political allies, campaign against cuts to public safety and to fight new legislation.
In a statement, the union’s board of directors said it is now considering additional options to “ensure that the interests of our members and the public are fully protected at the local, state and federal levels.”
The union confirmed that the proposal was rejected but refused to publish the election results. However, a source close to the vote said the assessment was rejected by a margin of about two to one.
The rank and file officers union has been very influential in national and local politics, pumping millions of dollars into their favorite candidates and rejecting bills aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of law enforcement.
Nonetheless, politics around public safety have been turned upside down since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, which sparked numerous protests against police brutality and new calls to transfer money from police to social services.
The city council responded to the protests in July, slashing the LAPD’s budget by $ 150 million and putting the department on track to have fewer officers than at any time since 2008. Council members have also taken a first step towards the dismissal of 355 police officers. officers and 273 civilian employees of the LAPD, with the aim of closing an estimated budget deficit of $ 675 million.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city hall officials hoped to avoid the cuts by securing new federal funding and wresting concessions from the unions of city officials. LAPD agents are expected to receive a 3.25% raise later this month and have rejected requests to postpone the increase so far.
Meanwhile, homicides increased by almost 38% last year compared to 2019, an increase of almost 100 victims, according to preliminary figures from the LAPD. The number of shootings in Los Angeles has increased by a similar amount.
Had it passed, the union’s proposal would have provided an influx of funds for the 2022 municipal elections, when voters select a new mayor, a new city attorney and eight council members. It would also have been the latest in a series of aggressive measures taken by the LAPD union this year.
The recently erected union signposts demanding that key council members come up with a plan to stem the spike in gunfire and homicide. However, these politicians also face demands from grassroots organizations for larger cuts to the LAPD and growing public support for law enforcement funding.
A recent Loyola Marymount University poll found that over 62% of respondents supported proposals to redirect some police money to other local government programs. Almost 37% say they are in favor of the competitive dismantling of the police.
Already in contention in the municipal elections of 2022, candidates like Albert Corado, an activist who called for the abolition of the LAPD. Corado, whose sister was shot dead by police in a 2018 shooting with a suspect outside a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, said he spoke to at least three council candidates who intended to do so. campaign on police funding proposals.
“I am leading a campaign which is actively hostile to the police. It’s just who I am, ”said Corado, who is running for council in an Echo Park district in Hollywood. “For me there really is no other option. I grew up here and watched the LAPD terrorize this city.
Activists took credit for the ouster of Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who lost her race for re-election in November despite more than $ 1 million in financial support from the LAPD union. Left-wing groups have also succeeded in electing town planner Nithya Raman to council, in an area that stretches from Hancock Park to Silver Lake and Sherman Oaks.
During the campaign, Raman had argued for making the LAPD a “much smaller specialized armed force,” a move she said would leave officers better rested and more alert to violent crime.