(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 76)
The following is a statement edited for publication on the site and delivered by yours truly to the Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) in Los Angeles, in what would turn out to be eight hours’ worth of public comments for the meeting this past Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020.
I want to echo all of the Black & Brown voices who have made themselves heard at this public meeting thus far.
I want to commend the public for their bravery in speaking against this police and military state that we are seeing unfold across our city and across cities all over America.
To the board:
You have a chance to be on the right side of history by standing against the militarization of the state in response to working class communities marching for an end to genocidal practices against Black and Brown bodies.
Even before the protests, you were already overseeing a caste system in the L.A. County Jail with a daily population of more than 17,000 people, where Black people make up 29% of that jail system while making up less than 9% of the population in Los Angeles.
You, the board members, have a chance not to stand with the fascists. You all heard the president just yesterday declare war against unarmed Black & Brown people, even while only a few days earlier he praised armed white militias for standing for liberty against covid-19 restrictions.
Mayor Garcetti originally said he would not be calling the National Guard. An hour later, he called the National Guard. You’re closer to fascism than you would like to think.
You all need to call for the national guard to LEAVE. They’re armed with M-4 assault rifles and intimidating our community and you are standing by, doing nothing.
You need to call to disarm the LAPD right this second, who, in line with police departments across the country, are battering and injuring unarmed civilians.
You’re closer to fascism than you think.
You have enough blood and injuries on your hands already, but you still have a chance to scale all of this down before it gets worse.
If you think today’s meeting has been long, just wait until the summer when more than 2.5 million people are out of work and looking into their city’s budget, and into the leaders and representatives tasked with overseeing the interests of the people.
Finally, consider that you live in a city where more than half of the population speaks a language other than English at home, yet you offer no captions for non-English speakers.
How much do you really want to hear from your city?
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3 thoughts on “To the Board of Police Commissioners in Los Angeles: Your Time Has Come”
Bravo, JT, for your needed, urgent, powerful words … I was hoping you might say something at the IOW meeting last night, joining your voice to the other powerful and urgent voices of wisdom — and I feel privileged to be able to hear your voice in your blog every day, though I haven’t always tuned in, and I know I have missed a great deal — I hope to be more regular, and locate you each day in my Inbox, over-filled with much that’s important, but your voice is unique, and this is the city where I live — so grateful to you!. … After yesterday’s IOW Zoom meeting, I wrote on the IOW page, where Alton posted a screen shot: So much courage and honesty, depth and wisdom. I’m grateful to be present within this amazing community — this is part of the hope that I spoke of, that I have felt at the demonstrations, from the youth especially. I have been active for decades and, as others have said of their experience, seen movements come and go. So I’m not talking about a superficial hope, an easy hope, a quick hope — but a deep hope that the wisdom of this generation becoming active now will have its vision on systemic transformation, inner and outer transformation both needed, consciousness and institutions, new human relations, the groundwork to create a new human birthmark to begin anew.
Thank you Michelle for all your words and your commitment to our communities and actions forward!
[…] The board of police commissioners, on the other hand, which “sets overall policy while the Chief of Police manages the daily operations of the Department and implements the Board’s policies or policy direction and goals,” is slightly more representative, but might be said to still fall short of “a fair share.” Made up of five mayor-appointed representatives, overseeing a police force where 60% of officers hail from Black, Asian and Latino communities, one could expect these groups to have, say, three out of five seats on the board. […]