Los Angeles' decision to slash up to $150 million from the LAPD budget to reinvest into communities of color was the "antithesis of leadership," Los Angeles Police Protective League leader Rob Harris accused Friday.
In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with host Ed Henry, Harris said that L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez's Wednesday motion to cut funding for the Los Angeles Police Department sewed even more division among political leaders and the LAPD and did not achieve her goal of "[resetting their] priorities" in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
"This is just one small step. We cannot talk about change, we have to be about change,” Martinez later tweeted.
"Real leadership exercises ownership. Real leadership solves problems. It unites us. It brings us together. And, she did none of those," Harris asserted.
"Basically, she was afraid and instead of taking ownership for the decisions that she [has] made as a councilmember, she pointed the fingers at our officers who, by the way, are working in the middle of a global pandemic and are still standing on a line battered and bruised and she pointed a finger at them and laid all of society's ills at their feet," he charged.
"It was shameful," Harris stated. "And, let me tell you: we have lost all faith in Nury Martinez's ability to lead the residents or the City Council of Los Angeles."
The $150 million is among $250 million budget cuts Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday, calling this an “urgent moment” for the city, “an inflection point.”
Garcetti promised his residents that he is “committed to making this moment not just a moment" and urged that the city must move beyond police reforms of the past. “Prejudice can never be part of police work…It takes bravery to save lives, too.”
In the originally proposed 2020-21 budget, the allocation for the LAPD was pegged at $1.8 billion.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Los Angeles police shootings reportedly declined to the lowest number in 30 years in 2019, which officials attributed to new policies requiring officers to use de-escalation and alternatives to deadly force.
Harris suggested that Martinez and Garcetti may have been looking at the situation with the wrong lens.
"Well, I think you're looking at a philosophical idea that the police are the root of all the ills in society and that's the wrong approach to take," he remarked.
"And look, if we want to have a real conversation about decisive actions that we can take to move us forward and to build trust we can do that," Harris encouraged. " Look, I think there should be absolutely a national use of force police standard implemented in this country so everybody...knows what that standard is."
Harris was not as open to discussions on reform within the LAPD.
"If you want to talk about reform, bring the Los Angeles Police Protective League to the table because the Los Angeles Police Department...should be the beacon on the hill because we have already implemented all of these things," he concluded. "So, take our example and let us lead from the front."