Race & Justice Uncategorized

As Demonstrations Continue in Los Angeles, Leaders of LA’s Coalition of Community Groups Describe Their Next Set of Demands For Mayor Garcetti

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

There were at least five protests, Wednesday, June 10, in Los Angeles, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.  The downtown LA march was the largest one, drawing thousands.  And there are demonstrations already scheduled at least through the end of the coming weekend, likely longer.

This past Sunday, the enormous crowd that flowed down Hollywood Blvd. (pictured above) was perhaps the largest gathering in LA since the demonstrations began in towns and cities across the nation, to protest the killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.

In Los Angeles — as is happening elsewhere in the U.S. — the marches have begun to have a measurable effect on local and state policy.

Samantha Francine stands up to a counter-protester last weekend at a demonstration in Whitefish, MT/via Facebook

The influence of the marches on the city government of Los Angeles became particularly visible just slightly over a week ago, on Wednesday, June 3.

This particular sequence of events actually began the day before, on Tuesday, June 2, when around 100 calls flooded into the virtual Los Angeles Police Commission meeting.

Most of the callers expressed their fury at LAPD Chief Michel Moore and asked for his resignation — in part because of a staggeringly unwise comment equating looters to the Minneapolis police officer who kept his knee George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 38 seconds, as Floyd called out desperately for help and then. just before he died, called for his dead mother.

And then there was the matter of photo after photo of officers under his command whacking peaceful protesters, or shooting them and the journalists covering the protests with so-called rubber bullets.

LA Police Commission meeting, June 2, 2020

Nearly all the callers pushed hard for slashes in the Los Angeles Police Department’s $1,857,330,549, budget, which comprises a staggering 53.9 percent of the city’s entire budget, and included a raise for officers when most city workers were taking a cut.

Unlike some commission meetings of the past, the callers generally were not unruly.  They were enraged and said so, but they were also very focused.

One male speaker summarized the general mood of the callers when, after efficiently berating Chief Moore and the commission for around 20 seconds, he noticed he still had time left out of his allotted 30 seconds.

“I yield my time,” said the caller calmly. Then after a millisecond’s pause. “Fuck you!”

After the commission meeting, Mayor Eric Garcetti seemed unrattled by the repeated requests to “defund the LAPD,” and declared that it was not the time to cut funding for the police.

Later Tuesday afternoon, however, hundreds of protesters assembled loudly but peacefully in front of the mayor’s house.  The lively event, featuring multiple speakers, was live-cast on the ACLU of Southern California’s Instagram site.

Demonstration outside Mayor Garcetti’s house, via live feed, June 2, 2020

Then the next day, Wednesday, June 3, at around 1:30 p.m., representatives of a large alliance of community organizations and their allies sent a letter of crisply articulated community demands to Garcetti and members of the Los Angeles City Council.

The five-page letter had a long list of signatories, which together comprised a sort of who’s who of LA’s Black, Latinx, and Native American community organizations, along with civil rights groups, plus a list of local labor unions.

Those who co-signed the letter — who are now referred to as the “solidarity group” or alternately, “the alliance” or “the coalition” — have continued to meet, and are expected to have a new round of demands early next week, or sooner.

WitnessLA has spoken at length about these next steps with two of the alliance’s leaders, Alberto Retana, president, and CEO of Community Coalition, and Charisse Bremond, the president and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade, and the first woman to hold that position.

But before we get to what will come next, let’s first go back to the events of last Wednesday.

Downtown LA March, June 3, 2020, by Taylor Walker

In the afternoon of the day that the letter arrived, an estimated 10,000  protesters made their way to the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, LA’s main criminal courthouse, located at 210 Temple St., where they chanted for the ousting of District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Then the crowd moved on to Grand Park and toward the LA’s iconic City Hall building, where they settled in for the duration until mostly disbanding before the 9 p.m. curfew.

At 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday — three hours after the letter’s delivery — representatives of the alliance met virtually with the mayor and other city officials to talk about the letter’s demands.

Two of the leaders of the alliance later told WitnessLA that it was the growing presence of the marchers outside city hall that made certain that the letter’s demands were taken seriously.


The original demands

Generally, the alliance’s June 3 list of Must Do’s was as follows:

  • Launch immediate investigations on LAPD’s use of force on peaceful protesters.
  • Reduce the LAPD budget by at least $250 million, and adopt long-term strategies to significantly reduce spending on policing, and transfer those same funds into the community, including to organizations dealing with youth development, diversion,  and other pressing issues.
  • Announce a $500 million investment for over-policed, high needs communities — prioritizing Black communities first.
  • Budget $25 million annually to fully fund a stand-alone Office of Racial Equity
  • Fully fund and staff the city’s Civil and Human Rights Commission to enforce laws against discrimination.
  • Allocate $100 million to build, establish, and fund 10 healing centers in communities that have been the most impacted by officer-involved shootings, police brutality, and community violence.
  • Create and fully fund a new Youth Development Department
  • Allocate $5 million to restore and increase funding for the city’s community violence intervention programs (such as the city’s existing Gang Reduction and Youth Diversion or GRYD) as a means to “ensure and expand community-driven solutions to public safety.”

(There’s much more to the list, of course, and you can read the letter for yourself here:  Memo to Mayor Garcetti)

According to alliance leaders, the virtual meeting with the mayor lasted for about an hour. Then, when the hour was up, Garcetti said he would discuss the coalition’s demands with his staff and others, then make some announcements in about 24 hours.

As it turned out, Garcetti’s decision making did not take 24 hours.

Instead, just after 6 p.m. — which was around 30 minutes after the ending of the meeting with the alliance leaders, Garcetti surprised everyone with an unexpected, live-streamed press conference.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, June 3, 2020, surprise press conference

“It’s time to take action,” the mayor said as local news networks scrambled to drop everything else and cover the speech. Then Garcetti made the statement that quickly became national news.

“We will not be increasing our police budget,” he said. Instead, Garcetti committed to $250 million in cuts to the city budget that would instead be invested in needed community programs, in particular, in black communities.

LA Police Commission President Eileen Decker made the second part of the news-breaking announcement, which was that the city intended to cut around $150 million from the LAPD’s budget.

The mayor, the police commission, and the city council would be making other changes that community activists had been demanding, Garcetti and Decker said.

There would, for instance, be a moratorium on putting LA residents’ names in CalGang, the state’s problematic gang database, said Decker.

LA Police Commission President, Eileen Decker, press conference, Mayor Garcetti’s June 3, 2020

The mayor and the police commission also intended to institute such policies as requiring police officers to report misconduct, according to Decker and Garcetti.

“We have to make sure there is no culture of silence,” said the mayor, who also announced an Office of Racial Equity that he promised would be up and running by July 1.

The mayor also committed to an expansion of a youth diversion program. (WLA will have more on that at a later time.)

Finally, Garcetti and Decker announced they intended to work to create an independent prosecutor outside the DA’s office.

“We hear you!” Garcetti said.

Well, maybe.


Rounds two, three, and four

Although the mayor, the police commission, and the city council made some opening concessions last Wednesday, according to the Community Coalition’s Alberto Retana, and the Brotherhood Crusade’s Charisse Bremond,  the alliance and its allies do not intend to leave the field of battle until the rest of their demands are met.

Alberto Retana, President and CEO Community Coalition, via Community Coalition

“This is round one. And I hope the mayor realizes that,” Retana said. “If Mayor Garcetti thinks Round 2 is in 2021, and Round 3 is in 2022, and Round 4 is in 2025, he’s surely mistaken.”

Among the things that the coalition will be demanding — or in some cases, re-demanding — in the next round, said Bremond and Retana, is for the mayor to go beyond the $150 million he has said he’ll shave from the LAPD’s budget.

“We asked for $250 million to be cut from the police budget,” Bremond told us, “mainly because we don’t want that additional $100 million that we need” — and that the mayor has promised — “to be cut from other city departments when the LAPD has 54 percent of the budget for this city.”

According to both Bremond and Retana, A realignment of the city’s budget, in general, is critical, even beyond the practical need for changes.

“It is reflective of the moral investment of the city,” said Retana.

Another police-related concern, said Bremond and Retana, is the fact that the communities that are being most policed by the LAPD, know very little about the specifics of where the department’s $1.8 billion-plus budget is going.

“For example, we want to know how much is going to the Metro division,” said Retana, who then pointed to the LA Times investigation of last year, which found that when the LAPD’s elite Metro division made “pretext stops” in South LA, black drivers made up 68 percent of such stops in South LA where they are 35 percent of the population.

(Pretext stops are often described as the vehicular version of stop-and-frisk, where a broken tail light or some other small possible violation becomes an excuse to question a driver, and/or search a vehicle.)

“We also want to know how much is spent on militarized equipment,” added Bremond.

In other words, coalition members want to see the line items that are presently taking up 53.9 percent of LA’s COVID-battered budget.


Trauma, healing, and justice

Among the alliance’s most important community development demands is $100 million for ten “healing centers” to be located in the city’s communities where trauma, violence, and the effects of institutional racism has become a serious public health issue.

Charisse Bremond, President and CEO, the Brotherhood Crusade/via Charisse Bremond

“We work with 3000 youth a year,” said Charisse Bremond, “I hear their stories every day. And I cannot overstate the amount of trauma we hear about.”

Bremond describes a recent conversation with about 10 youth that was held at a community barbershop. There each kid described one traumatic event after another.

In the beginning, the kids talked in response to questions by the adults.

“Then they forgot we were there. They were just talking.”

LA’s trauma-battered communities need a system of healing environments, she said, “that are safe places for young people and families to discuss the truth. Once it’s unpacked, then they can begin to heal.”

Many youth are feeling “anger and frustration right now.” she said. “But their trauma is also a story. It’s also narrative.”

To tell that story, according to Bremond, community members “have to have somewhere they can go in the community, with leaders that look like us, who can understand the trauma. Because all of us have been through that kind of trauma.”

As an example of what the alliance members envision, Bremond and Retana point to the Chicago Torture and Justice Center, and The Reverence Project, founded by LA’s Aqeela Sherrills, after his 18-year-old son Terrell, who was at the time home from studying theater arts in college, was shot and killed on January 10, 2004.

In general, the alliance wants the mayor to be “bold,” Retana said, and to “make investments in what black leadership wants.”

What he’s putting on the table is not enough,” Bremond agreed.  “And we have to keep up the pressure.”

The bottom line, said Retana, while the mayor has made small but important steps, the city’s concessions so far are “a crack in the wall.”

The communities need a lot more, said Retana and Bremond, “and if you ask the protestors on the street you’ll hear they need a lot more as well.”


Taylor Walker covers some of the newest changes along with proposed changes in LA County and the state here.

There have been other recent changes made by the LA County Board of Supervisors, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters.

More on those issues soon.


Photo of Sunday’s Hollywood Blvd. march at top of page by Joseph Williams of Black Lives Matter.  Thank you, Joseph!

And thank you to @Yakooza for the use of the drone-taken video of the same Hollywood march held on Sunday, June 7, 2020!

View this post on Instagram

LA showed up today!!! #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Ron Kurokawa (@yakooza) on

Top photo by Joseph Willams from Black Lives Matter

36 Comments

  • During the last selection process for LAPD Chief I predicted Garcetti would choose the black Chief from San Francisco. Clearly I was wrong, as I was predicting what Garcetti should have done, not what he did. Politically speaking, picking a white guy like Moore was stupid, you only had to look at the election of Sheriff Villanueva to see that. Nobody wants to see a big white face like McDonnell representing law enforcement anymore. Garcetti is a fool.

    The rest of this story is just the “usual suspects” of professional political grifters jockeying for government handouts. Basically a bunch of bishop turners.

  • Celeste, that hardy “Fuck you” directed at the chief was nicer part of the speaker’s comment. I wish you had posted the rest of the comment for the benefit of the heroes on this site. So they can appreciate how low their standing has fallen. It is sad that their own kids are probably embarrassed about what daddy does for a living.

    And, more demonstrations?! If the heroes on this site are correct, LA will devolve into anarchy. If I understand them correctly, the uniformed heroes on this site are the only thing standing between civilized society and the protestors. Yet, they are the reason we have people protesting in the street. And, they are not need as much as they think.

    Finally, heroes, did you see O’Meara out in NY throwing Chauvin under the bus. Unheard of a few years ago. He squeals that they, the portly uniformed heroes, are being treated like animals. Duh! You act like one, you get treated like one. My mom always told me, never wallow in the mud with a pig because you’ll get dirty. Or something like that. BTW, even the black officers stayed away from that press conference. I think the only black there was one that Trump uses in his press conferences and is probably LASD Asspotle’s friend.

    And, how about that Franky -Stop Fighting Me – Hernandez, who thought he was so tough picking on the homeless. Some of you ladies saw nothing wrong, but now he faces charges. Albeit, it is yet to be seen if he gets convicted, but, boy, how far we have come.

    Finally, time will tell how all this plays out, but what is clear the people don’t like your sorry racist, arrogant asses. Even white people are saying you cross the line. Let us move on. My mother taught me some manners. Otherwise I would say “F-you, I yield my time.”

    • Idk cf, situations like the one that’s happening in Seattle aren’t very forgiving for little guys like you. I know you’re just railing against whoever you think bullied you in the past but these new bullies don’t answer to anyone, and they don’t have a manager for you to complain to.

    • One business owner was ordered to pay $500 to help fund the ANTIFA freedom security force. He was asked to pay in cash or bitcoin. Armed guards are stopping and frisking those they don’t recognize so they can be disarmed.

      cf and the other leftists here: this is a shining example of your dystopian utopia. I’m sure you’re proud.

      • I wonder….will the BLM neighborhood watch secure this area for Seattle and the State of Washington? Oh wait…that is the BLM and their Antifa/soy eating allies are already there.
        Huh. If only they had police officers and politicians with an ounce of spine left.

  • Whatever happened too the CCW’S that the Sheriff V said he would hand out during his campaign? Right now would be the perfect time.

  • “This is just round one. I hope the mayor realizes that.”

    Hmm, that sounds like what an extortionist would say. Even yoga pants won’t put up with as many demands as these folks think they have leverage to impose.

  • Seattle should be a wake up call for voters who continue to reelect weak, liberal, capitulating appeasers. Not only do they have six city blocks under control of an armed mob who’s already begun to extort local businesses, they also have control of the police precinct and whatever arsenal of weapons are still stored there. The police chief was ordered to give up ground and abandon the building by the way.

    The Washington governor was asked about this takeover and claimed he knew nothing about it. Of course we all know that’s bullshit because he would be forced to admit that his policy of placation is an utter failure. This is unheard of in this country–at least in modern times–to allow a city to fall under the control of what amounts to be domestic terrorists. Allowing city blocks to be overrun is bad enough, but that police chief needed to stand her ground despite what her hippy overlords ordered her to do.

    This matter makes a strong case for having elected sheriffs who aren’t beholden to corrupt, inept and weak local politicians. I’ve had my own critiques of AV since he took office and he’s stepped on it a few times. During these protests however, he emerged as a real leader. Not one of our radio cars were torched and very little looting occurred in our contract cities or unincorporated patrol areas. This is because the deputies had a strong presence when called upon to assist other agencies. Watching the looting from home, I could not help but be proud of the take charge, we mean business, aura of the deputies when they arrived to bail out another jurisdiction.

    AV needs to build on this and take a very public stand and proclaim that under no circumstances or political pressure, will he ever allow one of his stations or facilities fall or be overrun. An internal department-wide correspondence to this effect would go a long way in galvanizing his people as well. As far as I know, he hasn’t taken a knee like the other puppets across the country.

    You take one knee today, and you’ll live on both the rest of your life. Just ask Seattle.

  • Hmmm.
    Raz Simone, I mean CF, is pretty quiet on the issue. Appears his no cop, co-op isn’t exactly going to make it.
    My boy Trump is gonna drive tanks right through your tent.

  • I actually hope Garcetti, Newsome and the LA County BS…oops “BOS” do cave to all the ridiculous demands being proposed by the clueless far left anarchist. It will only help drive more voters to want a change. Like the old saying goes, “it has to get really bad before it can get better”. In this case, as rationale people see what society and world ruled by an angry, irrational, impractical and radical mob as this “peaceful protest “ demonstrated and evidenced by places like Seattle, it will serve as an example of how a civil society does not function.

    Just as the Bernie Sanders movement and that of other new age leftist politicians (AOC, Ohmar, Talib) have fizzled out so shall this pass. If voters have to chose between chaos and order, I think we all know what the choice will be as the anonymous decisions are privately made at the voting both.

  • LOL, I’m flattered that you missed me. I guess you are one of the patriots that did not get to serve in Afghanistan since you think this young man is a warlord. The warlords, as they did in Afghanistan, will send you packing, maimed and with PTSD. Don’t get your panties all in a bunch. No one is taking over and there are no warlords.

    Dope of Reality, there is no Antifa, no security force. You should stop watching Fox if it scares you too much. I will take my chances in those 6 blocks before I take them with the country bumpkin down south not wearing masks, or even of the moneyed bumpkins in Orange County not wearing a mask. They are taking this concept of America being number 1 too far. We are number 1 with infections and deaths. The virus has killed more cops than the protestors, and you are probably one of those kooks that thinks we shouldn’t wear masks. Yes, there are no viruses because you can’t see them but you believe the lord created the world and everything in it. Lord help us.

    Eldon Hoke, great advice for AV. Please face it, AV is an idiot. If you still don’t get it, you’re probably one too. And, why so much whining about the brass. Seems like you guys are never happy. You hate your chief or sheriff, you hate black folks, you hate brown folks, you hate anyone that takes video of you, you even hate your job. In short, you guys are haters. Let me give you some advice, and it is fairly simple. Why not quit and find a job you like. Why be miserable in your job. And, what makes you think your job should be as you think it should be. The kid at burger king has to do the burger the way he is told.

    • CF,

      You are an insulting, useless contributor, relying on juvenile, grade school name calling. Others should do what I intend to do: not respond to your hateful and twisted commentary.

    • Cf , be careful Greg, I know you probably don’t believe your own B.S. , but in case you do, don’t forget you’re just a little guy with no back up. If you wander into the chaz some bullies may be waiting there, they don’t have 911, or a manager you can demand to talk to.

  • CF…you post some of the most idiotic ramblings I’ve ever tried to read. Truely reflective of the inner workings of the mind of a pitiful angry, hateful, racist, prejudiced, envious and condescending individual. Thank goodness you are not a policemen as your degree of mental imbalance is scary. You post some of the most disturbing, hate filed posts yet think you can be taken seriously when you go on and on with rants about black and brown people and the police.

    What are you doing? What’s your point? There’s clearly sickness on both sides of the fence if that’s your point.

  • LAPD is receiving/wasting 54% of the city budget. No wonder the police want to maintain the status quo. Prisons and police is the biggest waste of taxpayer money in history. The war on drugs and arrest then all approach will bankrupt this country faster than all the warlords in Seattle.

    Time to defund all the police unions who don’t care how much taxpayer money they waste. The police department is obviously the biggest waste of taxpayers money . You cant arrest your way out of the social problems in our society.

    The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world, Police and prisons are an industry which needs massive reforms.

    • Maybe you should brush up on the history of civilization. When human beings started living in groups and then communities they soon realized not everyone was respectful, kind, “nice” and civilized. In order for the community dwellers to protect their life and property and no longer rely on the king, Fuedal Lord or whatever to protect them they saw the need for laws, enforcers of those laws and means of punishment for those who break their laws.

      If you can find me a society (outside of the Amazon rainforest or other obscure location) that does not have some form of rule of law, law enforcement and penal system I’m open to listen.

      Utopia does not exist on earth and we are all bound by human nature and the rules of this reality.

      Once people stop breaking the law, law enforcers will go by way of the unicorn I would guess. Until that day, we need them

    • Would the police even take a report in Seattle since clearly no one violates the law in the socialist Utopia?

    • You are watching too much of Bullshit Mountain.. oops Fox News. Those inbred idiots like Tucker, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro feed their sheep propaganda to make a living. Dipshits like you buy into it. Is your Lord Rush Limbaugh not feeding you enough stuff …boy I’m glad his ass is dying.

      • Dipshits like me?
        So much hate in such a fragile, little mind.

        What will you do when my boy Trump gets four more years? When we still control the Senate and pack the courts with level headed anti-crime judges. I hear Venezuela is nice this time of year and sounds like what you’d be looking for.
        All those crybabies for the past four years…all we are doing is centering up after 8 years of that turd Obama. We’ve had a good run but it’s not over yet.

  • Dope of Reality, you don’t recognize your hate and your racism. A fish doesn’t know its in the water. And, your friends Madame Kong and Missing the Point, well, missed your point, and being the reactive and defensive cops that they are, had to chime in. They just can’t help themselves, a tick from the days when some black kid talked back. Btw, there is no Antifa boogiemen, just a bunch of white kids going through their rebellious phase.

    Madame Kong, no police? No 9-1-1? I guess there will be no any pretextual stops, no police shootings of unarmed folks, or no police beatings of homeless people, or no police “playing” with little cadets, and on and on and on. So, maybe less crime. Bad apples? At what point do you admit that there are more than one, or that the bad apples left uncheck spoil the barrel?

    Missing the point, thank for that history lesson in two paragraphs, from the dawn of civilization to the present. Instead of making up some mumble jumble sprinkled with a dash of misunderstanding of human nature, meditate on the idea of a social contract, read some Rousseau or Locke or even Spenser. Madam Kong will tell you I read them in my Pan African class in high school, right after I read some Malcolm and Toure. And, then tell me how this country has fared with regards to the social contract and black folks. And, you wonder why people are pissed. You may actually want to pick up a history book

    And, ladies, just for clarification, black folks have been saying Black Lives Matter, not only matter, not matter more, just matter. Not an unreasonable or revolutionary statement. Stop the whining. Again, may I suggest you get a real job, preferably in the private sector where you have the freedom to the job you want, not the job you are told to do.

    • CF – You know very well that most cops are not beating up homeless people (and yes, it was clear Hernandez lost it) or diddling cadets/inmates, so please…enough of that drama. All agencies hire from the human race and yes, bad apples get hired and should be shown the door. I don’t know of anyone here that would disagree.

      A serious question for a moment. You obviously care a lot about social issues. Presuming that like it or not, the police are here to stay, where do we all go from here? What do you think are some of the changes that should be made nationwide so cops can do their job but also have the trust of the community?

  • Cf, safely behind your keyboard you’re ok. But a little guy like you wanders into real violence? Well not so good. Be careful little guy, there’s no way for your new friends to tell you’re on the right side by just looking at you. Best you keep your vitriol on line, safer that way.

  • Finally! California, led by that idiot Shirley Weber, will have a panel to assess state level reparations for black!
    Throw money at the problem, California 101.
    Compile me a list of former slaves living today and I’ll gladly kick down from my piggy bank.
    I’m fact, I’m sure we owe the millions of slaves in Africa today being enslaved by Africans. Perhaps ol’ Shirley can throw money there too.

    • You mean when the officers thought Shaver was armed and told him not to reach for his waistband? But he did it anyway? Maybe that’s why the “executioner” was found not guilty.

      • Dose of reality look at the video again.
        The reality is dirty cops are rarely found guilty or even brought to trial

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