The death of George Floyd, a Black man at the hands of a White Minneapolis police officer in May, sparked nationwide protests for justice and racial equality. Decades of oppression, discrimination, and racism against the African-American community came to the forefront. The demands for justice not only for Floyd but for every fallen brethren who succumbed to an unfair death, reverberated across the world. It also called for the end of police brutality and systemic racism, as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gained momentum championing #ProtectPeopleNotPolice and #DefundPolice.
While many police departments across the country have taken into consideration the gravity of the situation and made appropriate moves towards the BLM cause, others remain pussyfooting around it. On July 7, the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement called out the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) for its racism and ill-treatment of the Black community. In a two-minute-twenty second video, BLMLA exposed the racism existing within the union and the remarks of actor and outspoken Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) union leader, Jamie McBride who suggested the BLM movement is an “anti-police hate group.” The videos feature a clip of McBride from when he appeared on a podcast about the BLM movement.
When asked what was in place to root out the racism within the police department, he said “You know in my 30 years, I haven’t seen any racism. I really haven’t,” while reports from veteran officers in the department suggest otherwise.”You go back and look at the history of Black Lives Matter and, I’ve said this before for several years”, he opined, “that’s a anti-police hate group, is what Black Lives Matter is.” McBride, who himself has pulled the trigger in at least six shootings, according to BLMLA, further added, “If they cared about their own community then they would understand, but they don’t. They just want to continue to be a radical group.”
Demonstrators talk to members of the LAPD during a march in response to George Floyd’s death on June 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)
“Jamie McBride and the LAPPL finance campaigns, control the media narrative and protect murderous, brutal and corrupt cops”, the BLMLA video highlighted in its cause.”It’s time to take your power back. Defund the police, reimagine public safety, and support a People’s Budget.” The BLMLA chapter tweeted the video, captioning it as “The Los Angeles Police Protective League is not a union; it’s a gang. It buys off politicians, intimidates critics, and covers up the crimes of its members. This band of bullies won’t silence us. We will expose them and stand in our power. #ProtectPeopleNotPolice #PeoplesBudgetLA”. It garnered over 129K views and has over some 4.5K retweets.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League is a narrow special interest group that acts as the LAPD’s lobbying arm. It is a law enforcement union that represents 9,900 police officers within the LAPD (as of 2016) and is based in Los Angeles, California. It also financially backs local elected officials such as Eric Garcetti, Jackie Lacey and David Ryu, among others. In addition, it operated as the Los Angeles Police Protective League Issues PAC, which acted as the political arm of the LAPPL. As mentioned on its website, the LAPPL’s mission is to ” vigilantly protect, promote, and improve the working conditions, legal rights, compensation and benefits of Los Angeles Police Officers.”
The organization was established in 1923 with the aim of representing as well as negotiating salaries for the LAPD and the Fire Department, as well as to provide a retirement fund for the members of both departments. The Los Angeles Police Protective League Issues PAC was formed to represent Los Angeles law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy. The services the LAPPL provides its members with include contract negotiations, legal representation, insurance, and legal defense plan, scholarship funds for members’ dependants and more. As of 2020, the LAPPL is led by president, Craig Lally and vice-president, Jerretta Sandoz.
An LAPD officer aims a nonlethal weapon during a confrontation with protesters following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)
Over the years, the LAPPL has also become a hotbed of controversy. In 2017, the LAPD union backed Measure C, which provides police officers who are accused of wrongdoing, the flexibility to seek resolution through an all-civilian discipline. In 2018, the LAPD defended the actions of an officer, Kevin Ferguson, who had fired his gun at teenagers in Anaheim while off-duty. Between 2010 and 2020, LAPPL has directly contributed more than $100,000 towards Los Angeles City Council candidates. It’s independent expenditure committees have spent millions of dollars, while not being subjected to any donation limits.
During the Los Angeles mayoral elections in 2013, committees sponsored by the LAPPL reportedly spent over $1.5 million backing Eric Garcetti’s opponent. In addition, in 2020, in the lead up to the March Los Angeles County District Attorney election, LAPPL invested over $1,000,000 in two separate political action committees in order to defeat the reformist candidate, George Gascón. During the election, law enforcement unions comprising the LAPPL also contributed over 75 percent of the $2.2 million that incumbent Lacey garnered. LAPPL currently endorses Lacey.
As of June 2020, 11 of the 15 incumbent City Council members have reportedly received LAPPL donations. Many opponents have also argued that these campaign donations have distorted the elected officials’ decision making. Furthermore, the union president, Lally was named a “problem officer” in the Christopher Commission, an independent panel that proposed reforms after the 1991 police beating of Rodney King. In the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, the size and allocation of LAPD’s planned budget have become the subject of widespread scrutiny and public backlash.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
On June 5, Garcetti announced his intention to reduce the LAPD’s budget by at least $150 million, in contrast to his previous proposal to increase the LAPD’s budget by 7 percent, including the package of negotiated raises and bonuses for LAPD officers. The next day, the LAPD castigated Garcetti’s plans to cut LAPD spending and deemed him “unstable”, as Sandoz described his announcement as “one of the most craven, disingenuous political sleights of hands we have seen in some time.” In addition, the LAPPL officials announced they had no intention of renegotiating the pay raises.
The LAPD and LAPPL have both been subject to criticism for some time now. However, following the video upload by BLMLA, Twitter users took to the platform to slam the union for rampant racism in its departments, as well as its tendency to let the wrongdoings of officers go unpunished. “The @LAPPL is one of the fiercest barriers to justice in Los Angeles. They allow murderous cops to stay in power and the LAPD to only serve and protect themselves. #ProtectPeopleNotPolice. #PeoplesBudgetLA,” a user tweeted. “Elected officials in Los Angeles allow the @LAPPL to have a seat at the table. Why? Jamie McBride has shot six people himself. His daughter is a murderer. These people are violent and dangerous #ProtectPeopleNotPolice #PeoplesBudgetLA #DefundThePolice”, another added.
“The ‘Los Angeles Police Protective League’ is the sickest joke I have ever heard. Who protects Los Angeles from the police while the LAPPL protects the police from Los Angeles?”, one concurred over a tweet, while another commented, “#LAPPL IS A THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY!” A user said in a tweet, “@LAPPL you exist to protect the LAPD pension system, the LAPD budget, and LAPD officers from being prosecuted for their crimes. The #LAPPL donates a lot of money to our city’s elected officials. Hey @MayorOfLA #ReimaginePublicSafety #DefundThePolice @PeoplesBudgetLA @BLMLA.” Another echoed the same sentiments saying: “The @LAPPL is a white supremacist hate group. If your union is endorsing a candidate who takes their money, you should be upset.”
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