A weekly round-up of the biggest news in California politics…
This was a historic week in California and in the nation. Peaceful demonstrations large and small dominated the news. Millions made their voices heard on the streets of our cities. They expressed sorrow and anger over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black Americans victimized by police brutality and systemic racism.
From Los Angeles City Hall and Sacramento’s Chavez Plaza to the usually quiet streets of Visalia, Eureka and Santa Cruz, hundreds of thousands marched, held signs, dropped a knee, chanted the dying words of George Floyd – “I can’t breathe” – and held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the duration of Floyd’s final moments with his neck under the knee of a uniformed police officer.
Criminal groups used the demonstrations to commit theft and vandalism. Looting took place in San Francisco’s Union Square, Santa Monica and other locations. Nine cities set curfews. Los Angeles brought in the National Guard and declared a state of emergency. A security officer was shot and killed, and second injured outside an Oakland courthouse on Friday. A protester was struck by a vehicle in Bakersfield.
George Floyd’s funeral took place in Minnesota on Thursday. By today, most curfews in California have been lifted. The movement demands a response beyond hashtags and promises. California’s elected officials have begun to act.
This morning, Governor Newsom held a briefing (watch it on Facebook here) in which he offered solidarity with protesters, condemned looting and property damage and discussed the state budget. He also ordered state police to stop using the carotid hold.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a press briefing on Thursday, said “I vow to continue, and redouble, my work to tackle and correct the inequities born of structural racism.” Changes Garcetti promised in city government include identifying $250 million in investments in community programs, which will include cutting $100 to $150 from the LAPD budget. Other changes for LAPD include the requirement for officers to intervene when they see inappropriate use of force, more regular training in implicit bias, de-escalation and crowd control training and an expansion of LAPD’s mental health intervention training program. Watch the full briefing here on Facebook.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, along with Supervisor Walton, announced on Thursday, June 4 a plan to redirect resources from the San Francisco Police Department to support the African American community. The leaders will collaborate with the Human Rights Commission to identify and prioritize funding needs in the city’s upcoming budget.
“While the events of the last week have been painful and traumatic for so many of us, they have brought forward the devastating impacts of police violence against African-Americans in this country,” said Mayor London Breed. “San Francisco has made substantial progress on police reform in recent years, especially around our use-of-force policies, but we know there are structural inequities in our city that continue to impact our African-American community each and every day.”
San Diego Police Department will stop using carotid restraint as a use-of-force procedure effective immediately. Mayor Faulconer has also directed three City advisory bodies to hold emergency meetings this week to discuss with residents strengthening community/police relations and updating SDPD’s de-escalation policies.
California News Press stands in solidarity with the Black community. We see you and hear you. We support and respect those taking a stand against institutionalized racism. #Blacklivesmatter