The division between Mayor Eric Garcetti and the police union grew wider this weekend when the Police Protective League soundly rejected Garcetti’s plan to have LAPD officers request that utilities be shut off at residences deemed “party houses” where COVID-19 rules are violated by hosting large gatherings.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League tweeted on Sunday, “Mayor Garcetti wants to reimagine policing. He should send his civilian staff to turn off people’s electricity & cut off their water. Let officers deal with the rise in shootings and killings in L.A. We need a leader and not a political contortionist.” Despite the phrasing of the tweet, Garcetti didn’t ask officers to physically shut off electricity and water to party houses, rather that officers responding to parties report to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that utilities should be shut off within 48 hours, should they see fit.
Mayor Garcetti wants to reimagine policing. He should send his civilian staff to turn off people's electricity & cut off their water. Let officers deal with the rise in shootings and killings in LA. We need a leader and not a political contortionist. @TMZ https://t.co/LIfhBetRLV pic.twitter.com/KJEJLBp7vx
— LAPPL (@LAPPL) August 9, 2020
The stance against Garcetti’s party-stopping tactic comes on the heels of his decision to cut the LAPD’s budget by 1.5 percent after previously saying he supported increasing it. Police have also accused Garcetti and some city councilmembers of hypocrisy by praising officers in private while pointing to them as the cause of social tension on TV, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Union vice president Jerretta Sandoz told the Times on Monday that the mayor is trying to use cops as P.R. props, saying, “He wants to use police officers when it benefits him politically.”
As COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles continue to surge through the summer, Garcetti’s attempts to end the trend of massive events being thrown at luxury rentals reached a new pitch last week after a woman was shot and killed at a Mulholland Drive mansion party. On Monday night, five people were shot outside a warehouse party in the Harbor Gateway area.
Garcetti warned at the time that the “consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties. They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread.”
Sandoz counters that working with the Department of Water and Power is “not our job,” and points out that using the police that way could lead to further deepening the distrust of cops by residents.
“If we are trying to bridge the gap between community relations and police, then why would we go out to a call like this, which would cause more friction?” she asked.
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