LAPD chief Michel Moore faced swift backlash after he said that looters in Los Angeles were somehow responsible for the death of George Floyd, who an independent medical examiner says was asphyxiated in police custody in Minneapolis last week. Moore appeared at a press conference alongside Mayor Eric Garcetti and fire chief Ralph Terrazas on Monday evening to discuss several days of protests, arrests, and instances of looting throughout Los Angeles, and in municipalities outside the city limits.
“We didn’t have protests last night, we had criminal acts,” Moore said, referring to destruction of commercial property that took place from Santa Monica to Long Beach on Sunday. “We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd, we had people capitalizing. His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.”
In a tweet dispatched at around 7:30 p.m., Moore attempted to clarify his earlier comments, saying, “There are 4 police officers and 4 alone responsible for the death of George Floyd,” but again condemned “those intent on spewing mayhem and distraction into our communities” for being “a disgrace to his memory.”
Shortly after Moore tweeted, Mayor Garcetti followed up with an attempt to clean up the messy remarks, claiming Moore “regrets the words he chose.”
The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) June 2, 2020
At around 11 p.m., in a series of three additional tweets, Moore offered a lengthier apology, saying, “I misspoke when making a statement about those engaging in violent acts following the murder of George Floyd. While I did immediately correct myself, I recognize that my initial words were terribly offensive. Looting is wrong, but it is not the equivalent of murder and I did not mean to equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly apologize for my characterization. Let me be clear: the police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd.”
My Apology for Remark Regarding the Death of George Floyd During a Press Conference Earlier Today:
I misspoke when making a statement about those engaging in violent acts following the murder of George Floyd.
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) June 2, 2020
Throughout the evening, numerous people called for both Moore and Garcetti to resign. One user, a TV writer, wrote, “You said what you thought very clearly. If for some reason that’s not what you thought, then you can’t be trusted in such a critical job. Either way, I’d like you to resign now.” Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore chimed in, retweeting a story about the police chief’s comments with the caption, “I’ve always wanted to say this: FUCK YOU, MICHAEL [sic] MOORE!”
The recent demonstrations have revolved around police violence not just in Minneapolis, but across the country. According to a statistic frequently cited by Black Lives Matter, 601 people have been killed by police officers in Los Angeles County in the past seven years.