The only opposing votes came from Councilmen John Lee, a former Republican-turned-independent, and Joe Buscaino, a Democrat and former police officer. Those in favor of cutting the police budget are all Democrats. The Budget and Finance Committee had approved the cuts earlier this week.
Buscaino, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Daily News on Monday, defended the LAPD and argued that cutting its budget would be counterproductive.
“We should and we must invest in communities of color,” he wrote. “But that task becomes exponentially harder when we are cutting slices of the budget from a smaller and smaller pie.”
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day, criticism against police has spiked around the country, along with calls to reform or defund departments.
A big chunk of the reduction in LA will come from overtime spending, the Los Angeles Times reported.
By next summer, the force will be trimmed down to 9,757 officers, cutting staffing to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to the report. The funds will be diverted toward preventing the furloughs of other city employees or reinvested in minority communities.
“This is a step forward, supporting minority communities in ways in which they deserve — with respect, dignity and an even playing field,” said Councilman Curren Price, a backer of the cuts.
The city's 2020-2021 fiscal budget is expected to be around $10.5 billion, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Faced with “constant verbal battering,” protests and the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League on Tuesday said the morale of rank-and-file LAPD officers has plummeted in recent weeks.
And the budget slashing came a day after council members approved a plan to replace some police officers with unarmed first responders.
Separately, the city’s public school system also slashed its police budget. And Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai has proposed cutting tens of millions of dollars from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.